Former Georgia district legal professional booked on costs of obstructing Ahmaud Arbery case

A former Georgia district legal professional has been booked on costs linked to her alleged mishandling of the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was pursued and gunned down as he jogged by way of a Brunswick neighborhood final 12 months.

Ex-Glynn County District Legal professional Jackie Johnson turned herself in to the Glynn County Sheriff’s workplace Wednesday morning, stories the Atlanta Journal-Structure, after a grand jury returned an indictment on counts of obstruction and violations of oath by a public officer final week. Johnson was launched from the Glynn County Detention Heart on a $10,000 bond, the paper stories. State prosecutors alleged that she used her place to delay arrests of the White males who chased and killed the 25-year-old Arbery.

Johnson was the county’s high prosecutor when Arbery was fatally shot final 12 months, and one of many armed males who pursued him had labored for her as an investigator. Georgia Legal professional Common Chris Carr, a Republican, sought the indictment after requesting an investigation of potential misconduct by native prosecutors who didn’t convey costs within the killing.

Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael armed themselves with weapons and gave chase in a pickup truck on Feb. 23, 2020, after they noticed Arbery working of their neighborhood simply exterior the port metropolis of Brunswick.

Ahmaud Arbery
Ahmaud Arbery

A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis McMichael fatally capturing Arbery at shut vary with a shotgun as Arbery fought again along with his fists.

The McMichaels informed police they thought Arbery was a burglar and that Travis McMichael shot him in self-defense. No arrests have been made within the capturing till greater than two months later, after the cellphone video leaked on-line, sparking a nationwide outcry, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case. The McMichaels and Bryan at the moment are jailed as they await trial on homicide costs.

Johnson has insisted she did nothing improper, saying she instantly recused her workplace from dealing with the case as a result of Greg McMichael had been an worker.

Nonetheless, Arbery’s dad and mom and their attorneys have lengthy accused the ex-district legal professional of making an attempt to assist the younger man’s killers keep away from prosecution.

“Yesterday was a really big win,” Wanda Cooper Jones, Arbery’s mom, informed reporters final week after the indictment was introduced. “I am speechless. Sadly, Ahmaud will not be right here with us at present. However shedding Ahmaud, it should change some issues right here within the state of Georgia.”  

Johnson would face one to 5 years in jail if convicted of violating her oath of workplace. The obstruction cost is a misdemeanor, punishable by as much as a 12 months in jail.

L-R: Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan have been charged with homicide within the capturing demise of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia.

Glynn County Detention Heart by way of AP/ WJAX

The indictment says Johnson violated her oath by “displaying favor and affection” to Greg McMichael and “failing to deal with Ahmaud Arbery and his household pretty and with dignity.” It additionally says she obstructed police by “directing that Travis McMichael shouldn’t be positioned underneath arrest.”

“She ought to spend time in jail,” mentioned Lee Merritt, an legal professional for Arbery’s mom. “Her actions should not simply acts of negligence, however she actively labored to cowl up the homicide.”

The three defendants in Arbery’s killing will stand trial on state homicide costs subsequent month. They’re additionally anticipated to face trial on federal hate crime costs in February. Georgia was one in every of a handful of states that didn’t have a hate crime legislation on the time of Arbery’s killing, however his demise galvanized advocates within the state and led to the passage of a state hate crime statute final 12 months. The brand new legislation permits for longer sentences for these convicted of crimes motivated by bias, however it can’t be utilized retroactively to Arbery’s case.

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