BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News has learned that police in south Georgia enlisted help from one of the suspects accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery to keep an eye on a construction site the homeowner reported trespassers on.
Channel 2′s Tony Thomas obtained text messages sent by a Glynn County police officer to Larry English, who owned the construction site where Arbery appeared on surveillance video before he was shot and killed.
The texts instructed English, who lives two hours away from the property, to call Gregory McMichael if any issues came up with people caught trespassing.
“Greg is retired law enforcement and also a retired investigator from the DA’s office,” was the message Officer Robert Rash texted to English on Dec. 20, 2019. Rush also included McMichael’s phone number and conveyed the message that McMichael "said please call him day or night when you get action on your camera.”
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Thomas talked to English’s lawyer, J. Elizabeth Graddy , who said that English did get the text message on Dec. 20, but he did not see it until recently. Gaddy said that English often fails to open text and emails and that she also didn’t see them until recently as she was going through his communications.
“When I saw (the texts), I immediately understood that an organization had been developing in that neighborhood since at least December,” Graddy wrote. “It appears that Gregory McMichael had been informally “deputized” by the Glynn County Police Department.”
McMichael and his son, Travis, were charged on May 7 with felony murder and aggravated assault, more than two months after Arbery was shot and killed Feb. 23 while jogging through a neighborhood in Brunswick.
It wasn’t until the video of the incident was leaked on social media on May 5 that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case and arrested the McMichaels.
Gregory McMichael’s attorneys told Channel 2’s Tom Jones that there is more to the story than what was seen on the video.
Franklyn and Laura Hogue said the facts will come out in court and there is more video of the deadly shooting that the attorneys claim will only benefit their client.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne learned on Friday that Gregory McMichael was the person who leaked the video of the shooting to a local radio station, starting the avalanche of attention that landed him and his son in jail on murder charges.
Brunswick attorney Alan Tucker said Gregory McMichael wanted to clear up some rumors circulating in the community and that he had no idea the video would spark global outrage.