U.S. Senate candidate Teresa Tomlinson spoke out on the killing of Ahmaud Arbery today. Wanda Cooper, Arbery’s mother, told CNN Sunday that when police notified her of her son’s death, she was told her son was involved in a burglary and that there was a confrontation between her son and the homeowner and a struggle over a gun.
“He was not armed,” Cooper said. She said she never worried about him jogging because he wasn’t bothering anyone.
“I am joining with the family of Ahmaud Arbery, their Attorney Lee Meritt, the NAACP, ACLU, NAN and numerous other civil rights groups that are calling on the DOJ to investigate the killing and apparent violation of the fundamental constitutional civil rights of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man jogging in Brunswick, Georgia on February 23, 2020,” said Tomlinson in a statement.” I further join the chorus of justice-loving people calling on the Glynn County District Attorney to immediately issue arrest warrants for the known perpetrators.”
There have been no charges against the father and son involved in the incident, former police officer Gregory McMichael and his son Travis.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” the Glynn County Police Department said in a statement April 28, adding that it “continues to gather and provide information to the District Attorney’s Office that the case has been assigned to.”
After the shooting, Gregory McMichael told police he saw the same man “the other night” and that he stuck his hand down his pants on that occasion, leading McMichael to believe he was armed. Once the men saw Arbery jogging, McMichael then alerted his 34-year-old son, Travis, according to a Glynn County Police report.
“Travis, the guy is running down the street, let’s go,” McMichael said, according to the report.
The two grabbed a shotgun and a pistol and followed Arbery in their truck, police said. Travis McMichael, the driver, followed Arbery and then attempted to cut him off, the report said. Arbery turned around and began running in the opposite direction, the police report said.
“This is nothing short of race-based vigilantism, which is fostered by our rudderless leaders who encourage and excuse this type of lawlessness,” said Tomlinson. “I call on all right-minded people to join in this request.”
Georgia governor Brian P. Kemp had not addressed the fatal Feb. 23 shooting that happened in Glynn County, outside the Brunswick city limits, until Tuesday. As the video spread throughout social media, Governor Kemp spoke out on Twitter, offering the GBI’s services to Atlantic Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden. It took the prosecutor less than an hour to accept the inquiry.
Wednesday afternoon, protestors walked around the Glynn County courthouse demanding justice for Arbery. A petition circulated among the locals demanding attorney Keith Higgins be added to the ballot as he mounts a challenge against Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson. 5,000 signatures are needed.
Johnson immediately claimed a conflict of interest, citing Greg McMichael’s service of more than 20 years with her office. The case was later assigned to Ware County D.A. George E. Barnhill. But, Barnhill stepped down because his son is an attorney in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, where Greg McMichael worked.