The white man who shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery allegedly called the young black man a racial slur after shooting him, according to a Georgia special prosecutor who said another suspect in the case heard the shooter say the racist epithet.
Travis McMichael, 34, allegedly called Arbery a “f***ing n*****” after shooting the 25-year-old in the chest, causing him to stagger before falling down in the street and dying, Special Agent Richard Dial testified at a preliminary hearing Thursday morning. Dial said that information was relayed by William “Roddie” Bryan, 50, who was driving in another truck behind McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, 64, and recorded the viral video of the shooting.
Arbery was shot and killed on February 23 as he went on a jog in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia. Footage of the incident shows Arbery jogging as a pickup truck blocks his way. He runs around the truck, and an apparent scuffle between Arbery and one of the men can be seen before gunshots are heard and Arbery falls to the ground.
The McMichaels, who brought with them a .357 Magnum and a shotgun, claim they believed him to resemble a recent burglary suspect in the neighborhood. Arbery was recorded on a motion-activated camera walking through a private construction site minutes before the shooting. Gregory McMichael said he called to Arbery, “Stop, stop, we want to talk to you,” before pulling up to him in the truck. Attorneys for Arbery’s family said Arbery was unarmed.
The McMichaels were taken into custody on May 7 and booked in the Glynn County Jail after the video of the Georgia shooting garnered national attention and outrage. The arrests came more than two months after the shooting and a day after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation began an investigation.
Both men are charged with felony murder and aggravated assault. Bryan has been arrested and charged with felony murder and attempted false imprisonment.
The autopsy report showed that Arbery was shot three times and did not have drugs or alcohol in his system.
The preliminary hearing occurred as protests and riots continue across the country over the death of another black man, George Floyd, who died in police custody after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes until after he passed out. Riots have broken out in several metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, north of where Arbery was killed.