Days after a video involving the killing of an unarmed black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery, went viral, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested a former police officer and his son and charged them with murder and aggravated assault. The incident took place in February, but the cell phone footage of the incident was leaked recently.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his 34-year old son Travis McMichael were arrested from their house in suburban Brunswick on Thursday.
How was Arbery killed?
In the horrific incident which took place on February 23 , Arbery was out for a jog in the early afternoon. The BBC cited a police report stating that Gregory McMichael claimed that 25-year-old Arbery resembled a suspect in a series of break-ins. This prompted an armed father and son to pursue Arbery in their pick-up truck.
The police report stated that Gregory McMichael said that when they shouted "stop, stop, we want to talk to you", Arbery attacked his son. "It was then the shots were fired causing Arbery to fall in the street in the Satilla Shores neighbourhood," the report added.
According to the Daily Mail, the father-son duo were not arrested earlier as they claimed they thought Arbery was a burglar after a spate of thefts in their area, and that he attacked them when they tried to make a citizen's arrest.
However, the leaked cell-phone video and the public outcry, led to the investigating authorities to place an arrest. The video was shot by a neighbor who followed the father-son duo on their killing pursuit.
In a statement, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said it was also investigating threats made towards its officers and people involved in the investigation.
Family denies Arbery's role in burglary
Speaking to PBS Newshour, Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery, said his son, who stayed across the street at his mother's house, exercised in the area daily.
Denying his son's role in the burglaries, the senior Arbery said: "I don't know why they racially profile him and done him like that because all he did is work out and ran and just took care of his body, because he had dreams now. Now all his dreams are gone, because they took his life for nothing," he said.
Calling the video footage "horrific execution", Benjamin Crump, the family's lawyer, told the publication that the police authorities avoided arresting the father-son because Gregory McMichael had worked as a police officer and a detective for the local district attorney for over 30 years.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, attorney S. Lee Merritt, representing Arbery's parents, said they were not aware of the arrests. "They heard about it on the news like everyone else. Wanda was extremely relieved but she remains very stoic as she has been since this all started. It's a huge, huge step but it's only a first step on a very long road to justice," he said.