Lawyers for Arbery’s family said US prosecutor in the South Georgia district, Bobby Christine, and his office would investigate why the County of Glynn and the state of Georgia took more than two months to arrest and if the region had historically violated the rights of its citizens. The US prosecutor has said he plans to file criminal and civil complaints.
William Bryan, who recorded Arbery’s murder from his car,with murder crime and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. His images show that Gregory McMichael, 64, and his 34-year-old son, Travis, confront Arbery before shooting him.
Gregory and Travis were bothMay 9. Travis was charged with murder and aggravated assault and Gregory was charged with murder and aggravated assault.
On the, Arbery was spotted walking around an open construction site and the McMichaels chased him in a pickup truck, according to the police report. When they passed Bryan’s house, Bryan got into his own vehicle and followed, the New York Times reported.
When Arbery ran around the McMichaels’ car, Bryan tried to block it, Gregory McMichael told investigators. Arbery also passed Bryan’s car, and the two vehicles reportedly overturned and continued to chase after him. At 1:14 p.m., Bryan took the video of Travis shooting Arbery, the Times said.
McMichael told police he thought Arbery was a robbery suspect, adding that Arbery had “violently” attacked his son, and the two fought “over the gun” before Travis shot him on it twice.
In an interview with CBS affiliate WJAX-TV, Bryan said he had “nothing to do” with Arbery’s death. “I had nothing to do with it. I’m trying to get my life back, and it got smeared last week, “said Bryan. “I was told that I am a witness and I am not sure what I am, apart from receiving a bunch of threats. “
“My client was responding to what he saw, which was someone in the community he didn’t know was being followed by a vehicle he recognized,” said Bryan’s lawyer at the store. “Without going into details on the level of crime in this community in this subdivision, I think most people in this subdivision were aware that there were problems. “
Georgia among 4 states without laws against hate crimes
Many have claimed that Arbery was targeted because of his race, but Georgia is one of four states with, which generally allow tougher sentences for perpetrators of crimes tried in court on the grounds of bias. South Carolina, Wyoming and Arkansas also remain without hate crime laws, and some supporters also include Indiana on the list, calling a law passed in that state last year “unique and problematic” .
Previous efforts to pass a hate crime bill in the Georgia General Assembly have failed, but since Arbery’s murder, there has been “renewed interest in ensuring that Georgia be aware, “said Georgia representative Karen Bennett, president of the Georgia Legislative Black. Caucus, said CBS News.
HB 426, the latest hate crime bill, was introduced last year with support from both parties and passed by the State House of Representatives. But the bill appeared stalled in a state Senate committee when the legislative session was suspended in March. The Anti-Defamation League joined a coalition of 35 advocacy groups known as Hate Free Georgia to demand that HB 426 pass; the bill would require a stiffer sentence for defendants convicted of targeting a victim because of their “real or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, mental disability or physical disability”.
While the states are the primary prosecutors of hate crimes, the federal government also has the power to lay charges under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The Department of Justice can act as a “safety net” to prosecute hate crimes in states without status or when state laws do not cover the crime.
The Justice Department has already stated that it is examining the Arbery case to determine whether the federal hate crime charges are appropriate. He is also considering a request from the Georgia Attorney General to investigate the conduct of the first two district attorneys assigned to the case. They recused themselves amid questions about their connection to Gregory McMichael, a former law enforcement officer, and the handling of the case.
Peter Martinez, Victoria Albert, Rodney Hawkins and Erin Donaghue contributed to this report.