Sep 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Former prosecutor indicted for misconduct in Ahmaud Arbery investigation

Protesters march in Boston as one holds up a painting of Ahmaud Arbery

Protesters march in Boston as one holds up a painting of Ahmaud Arbery. Photo: Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A Georgia grand jury on Thursday indicted a former prosecutor on charges of misconduct related to the investigation into the death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced in a press release.

Why it matters: Arbery's death was one of the catalysts for nationwide Black Lives Matter protests last summer.

Catch up quick: The three suspects include father and son, Gregory and Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr. They were charged on nine counts following Arbery's death.

  • The McMichaels pursued Arbery, who was out for his daily jog, after telling police officers they suspected he had committed a burglary, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
  • Bryan, a neighbor of the McMichaels, followed in pursuit and filmed the video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery at close range, per the Associated Press.
  • Questions about the investigation were previously raised after it took more than two months for the suspects to be arrested.

The big picture: Former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson was indicted on one felony charge of violating her oath of office and one misdemeanor charge of hindering a law enforcement officer, per the press release.

  • Johnson had previously recused herself from the investigation because Gregory McMichael had worked as an investigator in her office. He allegedly left her a cellphone message after the shooting, AP reports.
  • Johnson defended herself by pointing out that she had recommended an outside prosecutor to take over the case, Waycross circuit district attorney George Barnhill, AP notes.
  • But Barnhill, who also chose not to press charges, stepped aside after it was revealed that his son worked in Johnson's office as an assistant prosecutor, according to AP.

State of play: The indictment states that Johnson "knowingly and willfully" hindered law enforcement officers by “directing that Travis McMichael should not be placed under arrest.”

  • Johnson could face a maximum of six years if found guilty of both charges, per the press release.

Read the full document below:

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