WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: A father and son have been charged two months after their alleged murder of a man they pursued in a ute after spotting him running down a street in their neighbourhood.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his 34-year-old son Travis McMichael, are facing charges of murder and aggravated assault two months after the February killing of Ahmaud Arbery, 25.
The elder McMichael previously told police that he and his son chased after Mr Arbery because they suspected him of being a burglar in Brunswick, in the US state of Georgia.
He told police he suspected the runner was the same man filmed by a security camera committing a break-in, so he and his son grabbed guns and began a pursuit in a ute.
Two calls made to police before the shooting have since been released by the New York Post, revealing neither of the callers gave legitimate reasons the man was doing anything wrong.
Video of the incident shows a black man jogging on the left side of a road and a ute parked in the road ahead of him, with one of the men inside the ute’s tray and the other standing beside it.
The runner crosses the road to pass the pickup on the passenger side, then crosses back in front of the truck before a gunshot sounds.
The runner is then shown grappling with a man in the street over what appears to be a shotgun or rifle before a second shot can be heard, and the runner is seen punching the man.
A third shot is fired at point-blank range, with the runner staggering a few feet before falling face down.
Local prosecutors did not press charges against the father and son, sparking the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to step in and arrest them after widespread public outrage.
“This should have occurred the day it happened. There’s no way without the video this would have occurred. I’m just glad the light’s shining very bright on this situation,” Akeem Baker, one of Arbery's close friends in Brunswick, said.
The outcry over the killing reached the White House, where President Donald Trump offered condolences Thursday (local time) to Arbery’s family.
“It’s a very sad thing. But I will be given a full report this evening,” Trump said in the Oval Office.
At a news conference before the arrests were announced on Thursday, Republican Governor Brian Kemp told reporters he was confident state investigators would “find the truth”.
“Earlier this week, I watched the video depicting Mr Arbery’s last moments alive. I can tell you it’s absolutely horrific, and Georgians deserve answers,” Mr Kemp told reporters.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the slain man's father, Marcus Arbery, said it was outrageous that it took so long for arrests to be made.
“This is the first step to justice. This murderous father and son duo took the law into their own hands. It’s a travesty of justice that they enjoyed their freedom for 74 days after taking the life of a young black man who was simply jogging,” he said in a statement.
With Associated Press
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