AUGUSTA, Georgia – On the anniversary of his son’s violent death, Wander Cooper-Jones filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday against the men accused of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and the police and prosecutors that she claims to have conspired to protect her assassins.
The lawsuit filed in the US District Court asks for $ 1 million. Lawyers for the men accused of killing Arbery said they suspected he was a burglar and had committed no crime.
The civil trial names as accused the men who pleaded not guilty to charges, including murder in Glynn County: Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael and William Bryan.
The lawsuit also names Defendant’s Constable Robert Rash, former Glynn County Police Chief John Powell, former Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson and Ware County District Attorney George Barnhill, to whom Johnson served. asked to take responsibility for the case.
Arbery, 25, ran every day regardless of the weather, his mother told The Augusta Chronicle last year. He lived with her in Brunswick. On the afternoon of February 23, 2020, Arbery’s stumbled upon the Satilla Shores neighborhood where the McMichaels and Bryans lived.
According to the lawsuit, the three armed themselves and pursued Arbery in their pickup trucks in response to reports of trespassing in their neighborhood and a “gut feeling” that Arbery was involved. Travis McMichael shot Arbery three times with a shotgun and while Arbery was dying he cursed him, according to earlier reports and the trial.
Ahmaud Arbery was killed at 25. A year later, the black men who see themselves in him mourn his loss.
Arbery’s death was an execution, according to the trial, but neither the McMichaels nor Bryans were charged that day as police refused to investigate and Johnson then assisted in the cover-up before withdrawing from the ‘case.
Gregory McMichael worked in Johnson’s office for several years. He also worked alongside District Attorney Barnhill’s son, although Barnhill did not recuse himself from the case until he faced the conflict. Before stepping down, Barnhill wrote police a note stating that he had found no reason to blame McMichael or Bryan for Arbery’s death.
Arbery’s mother accuses Barnhill of libel in the lawsuit. All are accused of violating Arbery’s civil rights.
According to the lawsuit, the plot continued for several months and may never have come to light if it hadn’t been for the release of a video in May that went viral. The video, recorded by Bryan, shows the last moments of Arbery’s life.
Travis and Gregory McMichael were arrested on May 7, after a new prosecutor was assigned to the case and the government asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to resume the investigation. Bryan was arrested on May 21.
Powell, the former police chief, has been charged with unrelated bribery charges. Johnson was kicked out of the district attorney’s office.
Contributor: Associated Press
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