Georgia Attorney General Asks For Investigation Into D.A.’s Handling Of Ahmaud Arbery Case

A large group of protesters, bound together with yellow caution tape, marched on New York's Police Headquarters decrying police brutality against African-Americans following the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, 11 May 2020, in New York. (Photo by B.A. Van Sise/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Georgia Attorney General Asks For Investigation Into D.A.’s Handling Of Ahmaud Arbery Case

The case may have involved “prosecutorial misconduct.”

Published May 12th

Written by BET Staff

On Tuesday (May 12), Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced he has requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate two district attorneys involved in the Ahmaud Arbery case.

The GBI said in a news release that the case involved “possible prosecutorial misconduct” by the D.A.’s office.

"Unfortunately, many questions and concerns have arisen regarding, among other things, the communications between and actions taken by the District Attorneys of the Brunswick and Waycross Circuits," Carr said in the statement. "As a result, we have requested the GBI to review in order to determine whether the process was undermined in any way."  

The Arbery case is now on its fourth district attorney after numerous incidents of conflict of interest were discovered.

Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed by Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael while jogging in Brunswick, Georgia on February 23. Police interviewed the McMichaels following the incident but released them shortly after. Months later, after video of the killing was leaked, the GBI was brought on to the case. On May 7, 74 days after Arbery’s death, the McMichaels were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault.

Gregory McMichael’s connection to police is also under investigation, as he’s a former law enforcement officer who worked for local D.A. Jackie Johnson.

"When a district attorney is unable to take on a case due to a conflict, our office must appoint another prosecutor to handle the case," Carr in a press release.

According to the GBI, Johnson gave the case to District Attorney George Barnhill of the Waycross Judicial Circuit.

"Not long after Mr. Barnhill's appointment, he and Ms. Johnson learned that Mr. Barnhill's son, an assistant district attorney in Ms. Johnson's office, had worked with Mr. McMichael on a prosecution involving Mr. Arbery,” the GBI said in a press release after receiving Carr's request. “Mr. Barnhill, however, held onto the case for several more weeks after making this discovery.”

Barnhill would also come under fire for his inaction regarding the McMichaels, noting "that he did not see grounds for the arrest of any of the individuals involved in Mr. Arbery's death," a fact that was "unknown and undisclosed to the Attorney General." Barnhill also "failed to disclose his involvement in this case prior to his appointment," according to the GBI.

On Monday, Carr named Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes as a new prosecutor in the case. Holmes, a Black woman, is now the fourth prosecutor assigned to Ahmaud Arbery’s case.


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