Investigator: Man Who Shot Ahmaud Arbery Heard Saying Racial Slur Over His Body

Ahmaud Arbery.Screengrab / PBS News Hour / YouTube

PMH

William Bryan, who videoed the shooting, heard Travis McMichael use a racial epithet while standing over Arbery’s body.

CBS News reports that in an evidence hearing, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent Richard Dial testified that according to William “Roddie” Bryan, a man present at Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting, Travis McMichael, the shooter, uttered a racial epithet while standing over Arbery’s body.

  • Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man from Georgia, was shot dead in an altercation with Travis McMichael after he and his father Gregory McMichael chased Arbery in a pickup truck, the Intellectualist previously reported.
  • Special Prosecutor Jesse Evans also stated in the evidence hearing that Bryan also participated in the chase in his own pickup truck. Bryan also videoed the shooting on his cellphone, creating the brief clip of Arbery’s death that spread on the Internet.
  • However, CBS reports that Bryan’s attorney has claimed that he was only present as a witness and did not contribute to the chase.
  • The McMichaels claimed that they acted in self-defense when Arbery attacked Travis and that they were chasing him because they suspected that Arbery had committed break-ins in the neighborhood.
  • Georgia does have a citizen’s arrest statute. However, the statute requires that the one making the arrest must have “immediate knowledge” of the crime or “probable grounds of suspicion.”
  • Lee Merritt, attorney for Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper, has told First Coast News that “We have no reason to believe that either actor here, Travis or Gregory observed a crime.”
  • And the Daily Mail reports that “In the two months before Ahmaud's killing, there were no reports of suspected burglaries in the area.”
  • Arbery’s family has said he was simply out jogging. He lived less than two miles from the neighborhood where he was killed and ran in order to stay in shape.
  • The court held a hearing to determine whether or not the prosecution has sufficient evidence to move to trial at the request of the defense, CBS reports.
  • During the evidence hearing, Dial, the investigator, said Bryan told him that after shooting Arbery, Travis McMichael stood over his body and spoke an explicit racial epithet.
  • CBS states that this could factor into a federal investigation into whether or not hate crime charges are warranted. Georgia itself does not have any hate crime statutes in state law.
  • CNN reports that both McMichaels have been charged with murder and aggravated assault. CBS reports that Bryan has been charged with felony murder.

CBS also writes,

Lawyers for the defendants and the state acknowledged in court the extraordinary context for the hearing, following a week of angry protests in the U.S. over law enforcement biases against black victims. Most wore masks when they approached the bench or when they weren't speaking, conscious of the need to prevent spreading the coronavirus while most courts are closed due to the pandemic.

Read more.

Watch Agent Dial testify as to Bryan’s report below. Viewer discretion is advised, as Dial repeats the racial epithet Bryan told him Travis McMichael said.

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