3 Men Charged in Georgia Slaying of Ahmaud Arbery to Face Judge

May 28, 2020 Updated: May 28, 2020

ATLANTA—Three white men charged with murdering an unarmed black man in Georgia will face a judge next week in a case that touched off a national outcry after cellphone video of the shooting was leaked on social media.

A clerk for a Glynn County magistrate judge confirmed Wednesday that the three men will appear in magistrate’s court on June 4, to hear the charges and for a decision on bail in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, 25.

Civil rights activists pointed to the case, in which there were no arrests until 10 weeks after the killing, as the latest incident of law enforcement in the United States allowing white perpetrators to go unpunished in the unjustified killing of a black man.

Former police officer Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, are each charged with murder and aggravated assault in the Feb. 23 slaying. William “Roddie” Bryan, a neighbor of the McMichaels who took the cellphone video, was charged with felony murder and attempt to illegally detain and confine.

Police say Gregory McMichael saw Arbery running in his neighborhood just outside the small, coastal community of Brunswick and believed he looked like a burglary suspect. The elder McMichael called his son and the two armed themselves and gave chase in a pickup truck, police said.

Bryan’s video appears to show the McMichaels confronting Arbery, before he was shot with a shotgun.

Ahmaud Arbery and mother
Ahmaud Arbery (L) poses with his mother, Wanda Cooper, in an undated photograph. (Courtesy of S. Lee Merritt)

More than two months later, when the cellphone video was leaked, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation stepped in. The McMichaels were arrested after a two-day investigation, on May 7. Bryan was arrested May 21.

The Department of Justice is also investigating the case as a possible federal hate crime.

Attorneys for the McMichaels could not immediately be reached for comment. Kevin Gough, attorney for Bryan, declined comment Wednesday.

If convicted, the three men face life in prison or the death penalty.

By Rich McKay