Former Glynn County DA indicted over handling of Ahmaud Arbery case

ATLANTA — Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced Thursday that former Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson has been indicted on charges of violation of oath of public officer and obstruction of a police officer in relation to the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.

Johnson has been the subject of several Channel 2 Action News investigations throughout her career in Glynn County, including the Arbery case.

Shortly after Arbery’s death, two county officials alleged Johnson’s office blocked the immediate arrests of her former investigator and his son after Ahmaud Arbery’s killing and before she recused herself from the case.

Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, will soon stand trial in Arbery’s death.

“After multiple calls back and forth, the investigator was told by her (Johnson’s) assistant, a man named Rocky Bridges, that no arrests were to be made,” said Glynn County commissioner Dr. Peter Murphy in a previous interview with Channel 2 Action News.

Johnson sent us a statement at the time, denying the claims that her office had impeded arrests, and then blasted those officials and blamed the former police chief, who was facing his own indictment for the problems.

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“It is unfortunate that Commissioners Murphy and Booker have chosen to make false accusations against District Attorney Jackie Johnson in an attempt to make excuses and ignore the problems at the Glynn County Police Department, for which they are ultimately responsible,” the statement read. “Acting Police Chief Jay Wiggins has indicated that it was a mistake that then Police Chief John Powell did not immediately call in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate the death of Ahmaud Arbery.”

“As evidenced by the events of this week, the GBI was able to investigate, make a probable cause determination, and make arrests within two days of receiving the case,” Johnson’s statement continues. “That is what a law enforcement agency does. If the Glynn County Police Department is unable to make a probable cause determination on its own, why do we have a Police Department?”

Johnson eventually recused herself from the case and handed it off to another prosecutor from the Waycross Judicial District who also declined to press charges. George Barnhill admitted not realizing his son had worked with Greg McMichael as a part of Johnson’s office.

Barnhill would eventually recuse himself before State Attorney General Chris Carr assigned the case to Cobb County D.A. Joyette Holmes.

The case was then handed over to current Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Brody, Jr. when he won election over Holmes in November.

In a news release from Carr on Thursday, he promised to get to the bottom of the case.

“Our office is committed to ensuring those who are entrusted to serve are carrying out their duties ethically and honestly,” Carr said. “While an indictment was returned today, our file is not closed, and we will continue to investigate in order to pursue justice.”

Johnson lost reelection in November and is no longer district attorney in Glynn County.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation assisted in the investigation into Johnson.

Stay with WSBTV.com and tune into Channel 2 Action News RIGHT NOW for the latest on this developing story.

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