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Ex-prosecutor charged with misconduct over handling of Ahmaud Arbery investigation

The investigation into Arbery’s shooting continues.

Ahmaud Arbery Getty

The former district attorney who oversaw the Ahmaud Arbery investigation has been indicted on charges of misconduct. As multiple news outlets reported, ex-District Attorney Jaquelyn Lee Johnson has been charged with violation of oath of public officer and obstruction of a police officer in connection with her handling of Arbery’s fatal shooting.

According to the announcement, Johnson violated her role as prosecutor when she displayed “favor and affection to Greg McMichael” — who worked in her office for three decades before his 2019 retirement — and failed “to treat Ahmaud Arbery and his family fairly and with dignity.”

Greg and his son Travis McMichael hopped in their pickup truck back in February 2020 to pursue Arbery, who was jogging in the neighborhood. Upon encountering the McMichaels, a scuffle unfolded, and Travis pulled the trigger, fatally shooting the Black man. The father-son duo claimed the pursuit stemmed from beliefs that Arbery was a burglar, but the shooting itself came after the jogger allegedly attacked Travis.

When officers arrived at the scene of the crime, per the indictment, Johnson advised them against arresting Travis. She subsequently excused herself from the case, citing her former working relationship with Greg. Upon her departure, the former D.A suggested that Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George E. Barnhill take over, but he was forced to recuse himself after it was revealed that his son previously worked as Johnson’s assistant prosecutor.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation eventually took over the case, and the McMichaels were charged with felony murder. Their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, who recorded footage of the shooting with the McMichaels, is also facing the same charge though he insists he was just a witness.

“Our office is committed to ensuring those who are entrusted to serve are carrying out their duties ethically and honestly,” Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 2). “While an indictment was returned today, our file is not closed, and we will continue to investigate in order to pursue justice.”

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