GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — The lawyers for the man accused of chasing down and and shooting an unarmed black jogger in south Georgia say they want the facts to play out in court before everyone rushes to judgement.
Robert Rubin and Jason Sheffield introduced themselves Thursday outside their Decatur office as the attorneys for Travis McMichael.
McMichael and his father, Greg, are accused of pursuing Ahmaud Arbery, 25, through a coastal subdivision near Brunswick and killing him. They are charged with aggravated assault and felony murder for the Feb. 23 confrontation captured on video. The case drew national attention when that video appeared online.
“Mr. Arbery’s death is a tragedy,” Sheffield said.
Rubin said their hearts go out to the Arbery family but that doesn’t mean a crime has been committed. He reminded people McMichael is presumed innocent.
“People who know better than to rush to judgement. People who know better than to engage in stereotyping are rushing to judgement.” Rubin said.
Sheffield said that even though many people have seen the video, the events leading up to it have not been told.
“We know the ending. We don’t know the beginning” Sheffield said.
The McMichaels told police the beginning of this story is a series of break-ins in the neighborhood at a home under construction.
The attorney for that homeowner, Larry English, gave Channel 2 Action News security video that he says shows Arbery in the home right before the McMichaels confronted him.
English also said that his cameras captured someone in the home on four or five other occasions in the weeks before that.
Travis McMichael called 911 two weeks before the shooting and reported one of those instances.
A breathless McMichael told an operator that his neighbor had a string of burglaries and he was concerned the man in the home was armed.
“When I turned around and backed up he reached into his pocket and ran into the house, so I dont know if he was armed or not,” McMichael says on the 911 call.
Did that moment set the stage for a deadly confrontation. McMichael’s attorneys say they will uncover the truth.
“We know that there are strong opinions, we know that there is anger, we know there is outrage,” Sheffield said. “Our commitment is to the truth and we will seek it.”
The mother of Ahmaud Arbery family issued a statement through her lawyers after the news conference that said: “We agree with the attorneys for Travis McMichael that the justice system affords all citizens the presumption of innocence and that there shouldn’t be a rush to judgment or stereotyping. We only wish that their client, Travis McMichael, had provided that same presumption of innocence to Ahmaud Arbery before chasing and killing him. The men who ambushed Ahmaud Arbery rushed to judgment on February 23. Mr. Arbery is the victim and his family was left with a lifetime of pain. The family continues to pray for justice for Ahmaud”
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