Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton demanded on Wednesday (April 29) an immediate investigation into the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Georgia man who was gunned down in February near his hometown in Brunswick, Ga.
The founder and President of National Action Network (NAN) said that the organization has been following the situation closely and “will apply pressure until this case is fully investigated and those responsible are held to account for their acts.”
“We demand an impartial investigation over racial profiling as one of the perpetrators should not be granted immunity because he is a former law enforcement officer,” added Sharpton.
In the statement, Sharpton noted that Arbery had no firearm while he was out for a jog when an armed father and son, who are white, pursued the Black man.
On Feb. 23 in the middle of the afternoon, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his 34-year-old son, Travis McMichael, reportedly confronted Arbery because they suspected him of being the person involved in several break-ins in the suburban neighborhood of Satilla Shores.
The police report said the father and son armed themselves with a .357 magnum and a shotgun, jumped into a pickup truck and went after Arbery.
The Brunswick prosecutor recused herself because Gregory McMichael, a former police officer and investigator, had worked in her office.
Consequently, the district attorney of Waycross, Ga., George E. Barnhill, received the case but also recused himself. However, Barnhill argued in a letter obtained by The New York Times that the McMichaels were legally carrying guns and were within their rights, under state law, to pursue a suspect. The prosecutor also argued that the father and son were allowed to use deadly force to protect themselves.
Attorney S. Lee Merritt, who represents Arbery’s family, said Liberty County District Attorney Tom Durden, who now has the case, has yet to meet with the Arbery family since receiving the file on April 22. Merritt also said Durden had not reached out to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for assistance and probably has conflicts similar to the previous prosecutors.
“As such, we are demanding that Mr. Durden turn this file over to an independent special prosecutor,” the attorney demanded.
Besides the National Action Network, the Georgia state NAACP is also putting pressure to ensure those who killed Arbery are prosecuted and held accountable.
“Ahmaud should be home with his family but instead he was killed in cold [blood] by two white supremacists,” tweeted the Georgia NAACP, adding that the organization demands that authorities file charges immediately.