BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The first police officer on the scene of Ahmaud Arbery’s killing told jurors Monday that one of three white men charged with murder “cornered” Arbery before the Black 25-year-old was fatally shot.
Ricky Minshew, a former Glynn County Police Officer, said he spoke with William “Roddie” Bryan when he arrived on the scene, who told Minshew he “blocked,” “cornered” and “cut off” Arbery five times.
“Should he have been following me?” I don’t know,” Bryan said, according to a transcript of Minshew’s body camera video read in court.
Monday marked the start to the first week’s testimony in Bryan’s trial. Jurors were able to hear from an investigator, who described the scene of the crime and took several graphic photographs.
Attorneys for the state and Greg and Travis McMichael gave their opening statements Friday, and prosecutors called the first witness. An attorney for Bryan was expected to give his opening statement after the state finished calling witnesses.
The three defendants are accused of murder and other crimes in the death of Arbery, who was shot three times at close range with a shotgun. Video of the incident, captured by Bryan, was released by a Georgia attorney two months later, prompting national outrage.
Ahmaud Abery’s trial has been started. We know a lot about them
Testimony of the first officer at scene
Minshew was called to the witness stand on Monday morning. According to Minshew, he witnessed Arbery lying on his stomach and Arbery pacing.
Minshew told jurors “He seemed to have died,” and that he had heard an “earth rattle” from Arbery.
He said he called for emergency responders but did not attempt any lifesaving measures because he “did not have the adequate medical training” and his patrol car did not have medical supplies or equipment.
Minshew stated that jurors looked intently at notebooks and seemed to be writing furiously.
Wanda Cooper Jones later stated to reporters that Arbery’s mom, Arbery, didn’t get the reason Minshew wasn’t able to help her son.
She said that although he was required to secure the scene of the crime, he also had an individual lying in the street in a pool blood.
Jurors see graphic crime scene photos
Sheila Ramos, an investigator with Glynn Police Department, took to the witness stand Monday morning. Ramos captured the scene and took photographs.
Prosecutors showed jurors the photos: The body covered by a bloodstained sheet lying in the street with a white truck in the background, a shotgun lying in the grass, bloodstains and shotgun shells on the driveway.
Jurors then saw close-ups from the Prosecutors of Arbery’s wounds. Many jurors groaned in their chairs as they saw the first photos. Wanda Cooper Jones, Arbery’s mother, breathed in a quiet sigh.
Jurors were also shown photos that Ramos took of a bullet that went through the window of a neighbor’s house and was lodged in the living room wall.
Cooper-Jones exclaimed “Wow” as the photo was displayed.
State’s First Witness: Travis McMichael was covered by Ahmaud Arbery’s blood
The state called its first witness Friday afternoon, William Duggan, one of the first Glynn County Police officers to respond to the scene.
Duggan said to the prosecutors that Travis McMichael was covered in blood when he got there. The officer asked McMichael if he was OK, prompting him to quickly reply, “No I’m not OK, I just ‘effing’ killed somebody,” according to Duggan.
Prosecutors played dash camera video and graphic footage from Duggan’s body camera for the jurors. Duggan can be seen turning over Arbery’s body and attempting to apply pressure to his wound before saying: “There’s nothing I can do for this gentleman.”
Prosecutor: Defendants saw Black man running and made ‘assumptions’
In her opening statement Friday, prosecutor Linda Dunikoski characterized the defendants’ actions on the day Arbery was killed as “driveway decisions” that were based on assumptions about what Arbery was doing in their neighborhood.
Greg McMichael saw Arbery running and “assumed the worst,” with “absolutely no immediate knowledge of any crime whatsoever.”
Bryan “has absolutely no idea what’s been going on” and “joins the McMichaels in chasing down” Arbery, using his truck to attempt to hit Arbery four times and preventing him from running away as the McMichaels closed in, she said.
McMichaels feels a ‘duty’ and a’responsibility’ to defend the neighborhood.
Attorneys for Travis and Greg McMichael presented jurors with a picture of a neighborhood on edge and a father and son determined to detain a potential criminal.
Bob Rubin was Travis McMichael’s lawyer. He said that his client wanted Arbery “detained for the police.” Because he and other felt they had a “duty to and responsibility” in protecting themselves and their communities.
Greg McMichael’s attorney, Frank Hogue, said Satilla Shores had witnessed “break-ins and burglaries and thefts over many months,” and that Greg McMichael believed Arbery to have “burglarized” a neighbor’s house.
Rubin stated that Travis McMichael only brandished his weapon in an effort to calm the situation. But Rubin said Arbery came toward Travis “such that Travis has no choice but to fire his weapon in self-defense.”
Which member of the jury are you?
The predominantly white jury – only one person of color was seated – was finalized last week. The final panel consists of 12 jurors and three alternates: 11 white women, three white men and one Black man.
Public figures and journalists have called the case a “lynching” because of its demographic makeup. Although the judge admitted that there was “intentional discrimination” during the jury selection process, he said that the defense’s decision not to select eight Black jurors was permissible under Georgia law.
Census Bureau data shows that more than 26 percent of Glynn County residents are Black and 55% in Brunswick. You can read more about this jury. This is what we know so far about jurors.