Ahmaud Arbery Prosecutor Called It "Justifiable Homicide" Before Recusing Himself

What happened to Ahmaud Arbery is an absolute tragedy. I know that not everyone agrees with me, but as I pointed out over the weekend, what happened to that young man was nothing less than murder.


However, the situation surrounding the shooting and the lack of prosecution thus far is perhaps even more troubling. While it’s possible it wasn’t a coverup per se, it sure does look like it from the outside. Then again, maybe it was just incompetence by all parties involved.

The thing is, that’s hard to swallow when you encounter things like this.

A Georgia prosecutor who recused himself from the Ahmaud Arbery case waited to bow out until after he told cops the killing was “justifiable homicide” — and sent them a five-point letter outlining why the suspects should not be charged, according to reports.

District Attorney George Barnhill told police after the Feb. 23 fatal shooting that there was insufficient evidence to charge the two white men, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his 34-year-old son, Travis McMichael, after they chased down Arbery and gunned him down with a shotgun, according to a statement released Saturday by the Glynn County Police Department.

“Detectives met with DA George Barnhill Sr. of the Waycross Judicial Circuit the following day and reviewed their findings with him,” said the statement, published Saturday by The Brunswick News. “DA Barnhill, Sr., advised the detectives before noon on Feb. 24, that the act was justifiable homicide and for detectives to continue their investigation and provide him with lab reports and any additional information.”

Barnhill recused himself from the investigation on April 6 because his son is a prosecutor in the Brunswick district attorney’s office, where Gregory McMichael, a former cop, also worked as an investigator.

But Barnhill didn’t bow out of the case until after he received the autopsy report on Arbery’s death and wrote a letter to police explaining why the McMichaels should not be charged, the report said.


So, Barnhill recused himself, but not until after he basically scuttled any investigation going on at the time.

Let’s be honest, if a DA says there’s no case, then there’s little reason for law enforcement to really continue the investigation except as a PR move. That’s not really an investigation, though. That’s covering your butt.

I’m sorry, but this doesn’t pass the sniff test.

Luckily, there’s a chance to see justice done, one way or the other.

Channel 2′s Richard Belcher has learned that Georgia’s attorney general will appoint a new prosecutor in the Ahmaud Arbery case.

Attorney General Chris Carr will name Cobb District Attorney Joyette Holmes to take over the case, Belcher learned.

Belcher spoke to Holmes, who did not deny it but instead just referred him to the current special prosecutor, Thomas Durden.

Cobb County is a long way from where Arbery was killed, which means there aren’t likely to be any local ties with much of anyone there. Oh, and anyone was worried about a white prosecutor letting a white shooter walk over the killing of a black man, don’t. Holmes is a black woman, so I doubt that will play a factor.

Further, if she finds there’s insufficient evidence to prosecute, that should be that.


However, I doubt that will be the case. I haven’t seen the first lick of evidence to justify chasing someone down and confronting them with firearms. None. While it does look like Arbery walked through a construction site without permission, that was trespassing, not burglary or any other felony. Further, state law doesn’t allow people to put together a posse to chase down a supposed burglar.

Still, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

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