Black district attorney appointed to take charge of Ahmaud Arbery murder case

‘It is imperative that the special prosecutor has no affiliation with the Southeast Georgia legal or law enforcement communities’

James Crump
Monday 11 May 2020 23:33 BST
Video shows mean who appears to be Ahmaud Arbery at construction site before shooting

A black district attorney has been appointed to take over the Ahmaud Arbery murder case, a few days after two men were arrested and charged with the crime.

Cobb County District Attorney Joyette M Holmes was chosen to take over the case from prosecutor Tom Durden, who asked to be replaced by someone with a bigger staff, as the “case has grown in size and magnitude”.

Last week, two white American men were arrested and charged with murder for the fatal shooting of Mr Arbery, while he was jogging in Georgia.

Mr Arbery, who was unarmed, was on a jog, when Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis, pursued the 25-year-old in the city of Brunswick, Georgia. They confronted Mr Arbery and fatally shot him.

The shooting took place in February, but it took until last week for the two men to be charged, after the incident became national news when video of the shooting was released and celebrities including Kim Kardashian West and LeBron James called for action.

Ms Holmes is based in Atlanta, Georgia, which is more than 300 miles from Glynn County, where the shooting occurred.

The State Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement that “District Attorney Holmes is a respected attorney with experience, both as a lawyer and a judge.”

The Republican added that the Cobb County attorney will be better placed to deal with the investigation, as she has sufficient staff and resources.

“The Cobb County District Attorney’s office has the resources, personnel and experience to lead this prosecution and ensure justice is done,” he added.

Gregory McMichael used to work as a police officer for Glynn County, and retired as an investigator for the local district attorney’s office last year, which has hampered investigations into the case, as many prosecutors in the area worked with him.

Ms Holmes is the fourth prosecutor to take charge of the case, after two recused themselves because of connections to Mr McMichael, and Mr Durden passed it on because of a lack of resources.

One of the attorney’s for Mr Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, said he was pleased that the case had been given to a prosecutor not affiliated with the area.

“In order for justice to be carried out both effectively and appropriately in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, it is imperative that the special prosecutor has no affiliation with the Southeast Georgia legal or law enforcement communities,” said attorney Benjamin Crump.

He added that Ms Holmes should “be zealous in her search for justice”.

The US Justice Department announced on Monday that it is “assessing all of the evidence” to determine whether to apply federal hate crime charges against the two men.

In a statement, agency spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said the department “will continue to assess all information, and we will take any appropriate action that is warranted by the facts and the law”.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in