GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — The shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of two men in southeast Georgia has sparked outrage and calls for action.
Arbery, 25, was killed in a confrontation with a father and son as he jogged through a Glynn County neighborhood in February. Travis and Greg McMichael said they intended to make a citizen’s arrest of someone they thought was burglarizing homes in their neighborhood.
Channel 2′s Tony Thomas talked with Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr about the case and why he asked the Department of Justice for a federal investigation.
“The most important thing is we find out what happened,” Carr said. “The most important thing is we make sure justice is done. I’ve said before, the family deserves it. The community deserves it, and the state of Georgia deserves it.”
Video of the McMichaels following Arbery and shooting him in the middle of the street went viral after it was revealed the men still hadn't been arrested 74 days later. The McMichaels were arrested on murder charges last week.
"When the state was made aware of the video's existence, within 48 hours an arrest was made," Carr said. "Within 36 hours of the GBI being on the ground, an arrest was made. Within 12 hours of the video being made public, the GBI was on the ground."
Carr said that he asked the Department of Justice to get involved in order to have resources on the federal level that may not be available in Georgia.
"There are certain federal laws that may not apply on the state level," Carr said. "From our perspective, we're making sure that state law was followed. There's state law, there's federal law, and we want to make sure we use all the resources that are available to us."
The Department of Justice has said that it is considering bringing hate crime charges against the McMichaels. Georgia has no hate crime laws on the state level.
Carr has also asked the DOJ to look into how the case was initially handled.
On Monday, Carr replaced Liberty County District Attorney Tom Durden, who recused himself from the case, with Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes.
“This is now the fourth district attorney that’s been appointed. The first two had to do with conflicts,” Carr told Thomas. “The previous district attorney realized it was a resource issue. And so the reason we selected the Cobb District Attorney’s Office is the resources they have available, the experience and the expertise and the professionalism.”
Thomas asked Carr if it was also important to get the case out of the hands of someone in southeast Georgia. Holmes has no ties to the area.
"When (Durden) first accepted the appointment, the case was at one phase, and it's grown obviously in the last few days, so it was important to have resources to have the experience again that Cobb has," Carr said.
Carr said the new district attorney, Holmes, has an outstanding reputation and experience as a prosecutor, a defense attorney and a judge.
Carr said he’s asked the DOJ to look into the communications and interaction between the original district attorney from the Brunswick Judicial Circuit and the second district attorney from the Waycross Judicial Circuit.
He said now, it's important that the state and the DOJ looks at the case from every angle.
“All legal options will be on the table,” Carr said of the investigation. “We do it swiftly, we do it thoroughly, and we do it transparently.”
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