Ahmaud Arbery: Body camera video shows police responding to shooting did not immediately try to help him

Police in the footage say the shooting appeared to be self defence

Graig Graziosi
Friday 18 December 2020 22:39 GMT
Police body camera video shows police did not immediately move to assist Ahmaud Arbery as he laid dying

New police body camera footage shows that officers arriving on the scene of Ahmaud Arbery's shooting did not immediately move to help him, although he was still alive at the time.

Video footage obtained by The Washington Post shows Glynn County police officers arriving at the scene of the shooting, where they begin talking with Greg and Travis McMichael, the father and son duo who have been charged with Mr Arbery's murder.

In the video, an officer arrives, and Mr Arbery can be seen lying on his stomach, covered in blood. His head is lifted off the pavement and his leg is moving.

The McMichaels stand near by as the officer approaches.

After initially walking away from the body, Greg McMichael, the father, returns to the officer to defend his son's actions.

"He had no choice," he tells the officer.

Mr Arbery was shot while he was out jogging. The McMichaels chased him down, allegedly believing he had been breaking into houses in the neighborhood.

A man who filmed the shooting, William Bryan, allegedly joined the chase, and attempted to block or hit Mr Arbery with his truck.

Travis McMichael confronted Mr Arbery with a shotgun while he was running. At some point Mr Arbery struggle with Mr McMichael, who then shot him in the chest.

Mr Arbery died at the scene.

A few minutes after the first officer arrived at the shooting, a second showed up and asked about Mr Arbery's condition.

"Got a pulse or anything?" the officer asked.

"No. He's about to be 10-7. Man," the officer said.

10-7 is police slang for "out of service."

Mr Arbery's body was left in the street for half an hour before being covered with a sheet.

The body camera footage has shed light on the events immediately following the shooting.

In another video, Mr Bryan can be seen talking with a police officer, who asks him if he was just a passerby who witnessed the shooting.

Mr Bryan says that he wasn't, and explains that he saw the chase and asked the McMichaels if they needed help. He got in his truck and tried to use it to block Mr Arbery.

“I pulled out of my driveway, was going to try to block him,” Mr Bryan said. “But he was going all around. I made a few moves at him, you know. And he didn’t stop."

At one point he wondered aloud "Should we have been chasing him? I don't know."

Immediately after the February shooting, Mr Bryan claimed he was just a bystander and had nothing to do with the killing, which contradicts the statement he gave to officers at the scene.

Mr Bryan was charged with murder alongside the McMichaels months after the shooting. He and his legal team maintain that he did nothing wrong.

The videos also show the elder McMichael trying to convince the police that his son was forced to shoot Mr Arbery, and the younger McMichael blaming the shooting on Mr Arbery.

The officers on the scene seemed to agree, with one saying it looked like the shooting was “self defence". 

“I want it done right, because this doesn’t look good,” Travis McMichael told police. “I mean, I just shot a man, last thing I ever wanted to do in my life.”

The officers interviewing the men did not take them into custody on the day of the shooting. 

Ben Crump, the attorney representing Mr Arbery's family, said the video was evidence that the men worked together to kill Mr Arbery.

“The footage clearly documents that Bryan used his truck to block Ahmaud from escaping the McMichaels,” Mr Crump said. “With the murderous teamwork of Bryan and the McMichaels exposed for the world to see, we are confident that this will bring us one step closer to justice for the Arbery family.”

All three men charged have pleaded not guilty.

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