BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The man seen on video fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery acknowledged Thursday that Arbery did not threaten him during the chase and that he could’ve stopped following him before the fatal shooting. 

Travis McMichael also told prosecutors that he did not tell police some of the details about the pursuit that he shared in court on Wednesday.

McMichael took the stand early Thursday for cross-examination after testifying for about three hours Wednesday during which he broke down while describing the final moments of his confrontation with Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020. He was the first witness for the defense and told the jury he wanted to share his “side of the story.”

On Thursday, lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski pointed out several moments when McMichael could have stopped pursuing Arbery, and McMichael agreed but said he wanted to “watch” Arbery’s movements and find out what happened. 

McMichael said to the jury Arbery might be arming himself, but Dunikoski agreed that Arbery never threatened him with a gun or threatened him.

McMichael claimed Thursday, “I wasn’t sure if he were a threat” 

McMichael said he was later “under the impression” that Arbery could be a threat because he saw him “attacking” defendant William “Roddie” Bryan’s truck and Arbery ran toward him.

“All he’s done is run away from you,” Dunikoski said. “And you pulled out a shotgun and pointed it at him.”

Dunikoski pointed out that McMichael claimed to investigators that Arbery did not grab his shotgun in the melee.

“So, you didn’t shoot him because he grabbed the barrel of your shotgun, you shot because he came around that corner and you were right there and you just pulled that trigger immediately?” Dunikoski asked.

McMichael claimed, “It was striking.” “We were face to face … and that’s when I shot.”

More:Georgia man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery tells jury he was in a ‘life-or-death situation’

McMichael’s statements were also criticized by the prosecution.initially gave police compared to what he told jurors the day before about the events leading up to the shooting. 

McMichael said Wednesday that he had told Arbery police were coming, and that is what McMichael believed prompted Arbery’s decision to run from him. He admitted that he didn’t include the information in his police report on Thursday. He also said he never told police he had intended to arrest ArberyOr that Arbery saw Bryan “attacking” Bryan’s truck. 

Attorneys for McMichael and his dad, Gregory, have argued that the two men chased Arbery in their pickup truck because they wanted to detain him for police. They said they saw him running in their neighborhood and believed he was responsible for recent break-ins. According to attorneys, Travis McMichael killed Arbery out of self-defense.

McMichael on Thursday said he “failed” to give fully accurate statements to police because the shooting was “the most traumatic event” of his life and at the time he was still covered in Arbery’s blood.

“Seeing how I was talking, I was under stress, nervous, scared,” he said as he looked at a transcript of his statements to police Thursday.

McMichael denied that he believed he would be going to prison during an interview for killing someone. 

McMichael repeatedly told jurors that he had probable cause to believe Arbery was a burglar because he saw him on neighbor Larry English’s property days before the shooting. English had previously alerted neighbors that people had been entering his home under construction. On Feb. 11, McMichael said Arbery appeared to reach into his pants, leading him to believe he was armed. 

McMichael indicated that he believes Arbery was injured in the incident.

He said that he believed that he was the one committing the crime. His probable cause of death was he.

Dunikoski also agreed to the fact that Dunikoski didn’t know about who had taken items from English.

He said, “But I had the possibility.”

More:The defense lawyer fails to obtain Rev. Jesse Jackson is removed from Ahmaud Abery’s death trial courtroom

Meanwhile outside the courthouse on Thursday, a large group of Black pastors prepared to rally to support Arbery’s family.

Bryan is represented by Kevin Gough who has repeatedly criticized Bryan’s presence in the courtroom with prominent pastors including Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

Jackson clasped Wanda Cooper Jones’ and Marcus Arberys hands while prosecutors played more cell-phone video from Thursday’s shooting.

More:Arbery’s death trial, Rittenhouse case are both evidence of deepening political & racial differences

Source: USAToday.com

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