State law enforcement officials have opened an investigation into the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a coastal Georgia resident who was gunned down during an encounter in Brunswick with two men in February that has sparked widespread outrage.
Video footage purporting to show the fatal encounter between Arbery and the two men, Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, surfaced online Tuesday and drew comparisons to the high-profile killings of unarmed black men in recent years.
The video ignited anger among political leaders and social-media observers alike over the appearance that Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, who are both white, shot the 25-year-old Arbery, who is black, while he was jogging in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick on Feb. 23.
Gregory McMichael told police he and his son followed Arbery in a truck after suspecting him of committing robberies in the neighborhood, according to a police report cited by The Brunswick News in April. A struggle broke out between Arbery and Travis McMichael over a shotgun that McMichael brought in the truck, which led to shots being fired and Arbery’s death.
The video circulating online appears to show this encounter from a recording taken inside an approaching vehicle. Arbery is shown running toward the truck and then around it before grappling with Travis McMichael in the street. Three shots are heard and Arbery stumbles onto the pavement.
The lack of arrests or charges brought in the case so far have prompted accusations of police corruption, given Gregory McMichael formerly worked as a Glynn County police officer and as an investigator with the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office before retiring last May.
Authorities in Glynn County have faced mounting criticism from outraged observers and members of Arbery’s family, who have told news outlets Arbery was out for a jog on the day he was shot. Last month, the Southern Poverty Law Center called for a federal investigation.
In a statement late Tuesday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced it will investigate the Arbery shooting following a request from Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden, whose office is overseeing a review of the case.
The agency also said it has been asked by the Glynn County Police Department to investigate how the video circulating online was released as well as “allegations of threats” against local officers involved in the investigation.
Durden announced Wednesday that he plans to present evidence for a Glynn County grand jury to consider filing any potential charges.
On Twitter, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said Tuesday he is “deeply concerned” about the video and news reports on the shooting of Arbery. Carr said he expects “justice to be carried out as swiftly as possible.”
Gov. Brian Kemp also weighed in on the shooting investigation, writing on Twitter Tuesday that state officials are poised to help Durden’s office “ensure a thorough, independent investigation.”
“Georgians deserve answers,” Kemp said. “State law enforcement stands ready to ensure justice is served.”