Newly released body cam footage shows that Ahmaud Arbery was still alive when police arrived on the scene in Brunswick, Georgia.
It also reveals the officers did not immediately help Arbery when they got there in the minutes after he was shot and showed little skepticism of the story those accused of his murder initially told them.
Twenty-five-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was jogging in a residential neighborhood on February 23 this year when three white men chased him down and shot him.
In the video, the first officer arrived on scene, and Arbery appears to still be moving, according to a report by The Washington Post. The first officer approaches Arbery who is lying in the middle of the street covered in blood. Video captures what appears to be Ahmaud’s labored breathing.
Instead of offering assistance, the officer speaks to two of the men accused of shooting Arbery, father and son, Gregory and Travis McMichael.
“He had no choice,” Gregory McMichael told the officer more than once, pointing to his son.
A second officer arrives on scene, wearing gloves and goes to check on Arbery.
“Got a pulse or anything,” the second office asked while approaching Arbery’s body on the street. “No. He’s about to be 10-7. Man.”
Over 30 minutes after the shooting, police put a sheet over Arbery’s body.
Arbery’s murder sparked national outrage after it took months for officials to make an arrest or bring charges. A complicated web of broken protocol by former Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson has been blamed for the delay and lack of urgency in the case.
Officers interviewed the McMichaels the day of the shooting, but didn’t take them into custody, stating on video the incident seemed to be one of “self-defense.” “Why would he be in cuffs?” one officer said referring to Travis McMichaels.
The video also shows the officers apparently recognizing the McMichaels, Gregory McMichael having at the time of the shooting only recently retired as an investigator from Johnson’s office.
The man who filmed the shooting on his cellphone, William Bryan, initially told authorities he was only a witness to the shooting, but Arbery’s family attorney Benjamin Crump said the video “confirms what we had long suspected.”
“The [body cam] footage clearly documents that Bryan used his truck to block Ahmaud from escaping the McMichaels,” Crump stated. “With the murderous teamwork of Bryan and the McMichaels exposed for the world to see, we are confident that this will bring us one step closer to justice for the Arbery family.”
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