Glynn County DA addresses claims she mishandled Ahmaud Arbery murder case

The spotlights have been on Glynn County ever since a video of Greg and Travis McMichael leaked, showing them confronting Arbery in their neighborhood outside of Brunswick.

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson took to the radio Wednesday to say she did everything right by recusing herself from the Ahmaud Arbery murder case as criminal, state and federal investigations put more attention on her office and the politics surrounding the investigation.

Channel 2’s Tony Thomas met Rev. Greg Drumwright Wednesday as he arrived in Glynn County to organize a YouTube town hall this weekend to talk about the Arbery case.

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“I’ve been bombarded with questions, with concerns, with laments, with sorrows,” Drumwright said. “It could have been anyone from our community.”

The spotlights have been on Glynn County ever since a video of Greg and Travis McMichael leaked, showing them confronting Arbery in their neighborhood outside of Brunswick.

The McMichaels said they thought Arbery was a burglar. Arbery's family said he was simply on a jog.

Arbery was shot and killed during the struggle.

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For weeks, local police and prosecutors never filed charges. Then the Georgia Bureau of Investigation stepped in, charged the McMichaels with murder and continues to actively investigate the case.

Critics say Johnson mishandled the case. But Johnson said she was barely involved because suspect Greg McMichael used to be her chief prosecutor and that her office quickly pulled out of the investigation.

But as she heads into a reelection campaign, Johnson now faces many questions and both federal and state investigations.

She refused to talk to Channel 2 Action News but spoke on at least two occasions to Jesup radio station, WIFO.

Johnson blamed the Glynn County police for not calling in the GBI sooner, and the media for the firestorm around her.

“I don't fear the truth; I fear lies,” Johnson said. “We are under a cloud now because of the national media that's based on a lie.”

“Why should they vote for Jackie Johnson?” the radio host asked Johnson.

“Well, again, our record,” Johnson said.

Johnson faces no primary opposition in the upcoming election.

Independent candidate Keith Higgins is trying to overcome long odds and pandemic restrictions to collect enough signatures to get on the November ballot.

“I was in this long before the recent events,” Higgins told Thomas. “Recent events have added fuel I would imagine to the campaign. It has galvanized the community into looking for positive change in the justice system down here.”

A change that people, such as Drumwright, are pushing in the name of justice for Arbery.

“What is happening in Brunswick is happening all over the country,” Drumwright said.

Thomas attempted to contact Johnson again Wednesday but has not received any response from her.

Meanwhile, the McMichaels remain in jail, waiting for a court date to be set to try and get out of jail on bond.

For the past five years, we have done some deep reporting in the same place Arbery was murdered. It involves the same players, the same problems and now, growing outrage.