Former Georgia prosecutor Jackie Johnson has been charged with misconduct after capturing a black man

Savannah, Georgia (AP) – A former Georgia prosecutor was charged with felonies Thursday for using his position to avoid charges against a man who tracked down and killed Amad Arbury shortly after the shooting. I did.

Arbury’s family attorney will address the charges at an EST press conference Friday at 10:30 a.m

A grand jury on the Glynn County coast has indicted former Brunswick attorney Jackie Johnson for violating her oath of office and disturbing a minor police officer.

The indictment came as a result of Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr, who last year investigated local prosecutors’ handling of the Arbury murder after video of cell phone shooting and a delay in prosecuting prosecutors sparked prosecutors. ..

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“The indictment was returned today, but the file has not been closed and we will continue the investigation,” Republican Kerr said in a statement.

Arbury picks up a 25-year-old black man in a pickup truck on February 23, 2020 after he found a white father and his son Greg and Travis McMichael armed and running in a neighborhood outside the seaside town of Brunswick. Killed after pursuit. About 112 kilometers south of the savannah.

Neighbor William “Rodi” Brian joined the chase and filmed cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arberry at close range with a shotgun. McMichales said he believed Arbery was a thief and was shot after attacking Travis McMichael.

Police did not pursue any of them shortly after the shooting, and McMichaels and Brian were 2 years old until video of the shooting leaked online and Governor Brian Kemp asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to take on the case. It stayed free for over a month. ..

McMichaels and Bryan were charged with murder and other crimes in May 2020 and will appear in court this fall. Prosecutors say Arbury was just jogging around the neighborhood and was unarmed when Travis McMichael shot him. They say there is no evidence that Arbury committed a crime.

Greg McMichael worked as an investigator in Johnson’s office but retired in 2019. Evidence presented at the murder trial shows that he called Johnson’s cell phone and left her a voice message shortly after the shooting.

“Jackie, this is Greg,” he said, according to a phone recording found in court records. “Can you call me as soon as possible? My son and I are involved in the filming and are in dire need of advice. “

Related: Amad Arbury’s Previous Unrelated Issues, Judges Rules

Records of Greg McMichael’s cellphone call that day do not indicate that Johnson called him back.

According to the indictment, Johnson showed Greg McMichael “favors and affection” during the investigation and interfered with local police by saying, “Don’t arrest Travis McMichael.”

Johnson did not immediately respond to a phone message requesting comment Thursday afternoon. She previously claimed she did nothing wrong and said she quickly backed down from the incident because Greg McMichael was a former employee.

Johnson told The Associated Press in November after losing his reelection.

Arbury’s mother’s attorney, Lee Merritt, said in a statement Thursday that prosecutors “must be held accountable if they interfere with the investigation to protect friends and law enforcement.”

Arbury’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, posted her reaction on Facebook: “Former Attorney General Jackie Johnson…. Accused !!! JusticeForMyBaby!!!! ”

In his call to investigate the prosecutor’s illegal activities, Kerr called on the GBI to investigate not only Johnson’s actions in connection with the murder, but also the actions of Waycross Judiciary Patrol District Attorney George Burnhill. No charges were brought against Burnhill.

After the shooting, Johnson called Burnhill to answer questions from police about how the shootings were being handled.

Kerr was named to take over Burnhill on February 27, four days after filming began. Mr Kerr said in a letter ordering an inquiry last May that Mr Burnhill had not yet told police that “there is no reason to arrest the person involved in Mr Arbury’s death”.

Burnhill later resigned after the Arbury family learned his son was serving as Johnson’s assistant district attorney. But before he left, Burnhill wrote to the Glynn County Police Department captain, and McMichael was “in an uphill chase” to pursue the alleged robbery in their neighborhood for a solid and direct possible cause. Was and asked / said to him. “

“It appears that their intention was to arrest and hold the criminal suspect until police officers arrive. It’s perfectly legal under Georgian law,” Barnhill said during Georgia’s civil war. He advised in a letter on the Citizen Arrest Act.

The law was scrapped in May 2021 in response to Arbury’s death with overwhelming support from Republicans and Democrats.

Johnson told AP in May 2020 that Glynn County Police contacted both of their prosecutors on the day of the shooting. She said it was the police officer who “described it as a case of a self-defense robbery.”

“Our office was unable to advise or assist them because of our apparent conflict,” Johnson said.

Johnson, ten years later as chief prosecutor for five southeast Georgia counties, blamed the controversy surrounding Arbury’s death for his loss in last year’s election. She lost to independent candidate Keith Higgins, who had to collect thousands of signatures to go to the polls.

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Prosecutor Ahmaud Arbery: Former Georgia prosecutor Jackie Johnson has been charged with misconduct after she shot and killed a black man