Homeowner’s attorney, Arbery family’s attorney respond to new video

Surveillance video appears to show Ahmaud Arbery inside a home under construction minutes...
Surveillance video appears to show Ahmaud Arbery inside a home under construction minutes before he was killed on Feb. 23.(Graddy Law LLC)
Updated: May. 11, 2020 at 5:32 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WTOC) - An attorney representing the homeowner of a construction site involved in the Ahmaud Arbery case issued a statement condemning the actions taken by Gregory and Travis McMichael.

A brief surveillance clip appears to show a man that looks like Arbery inside the home minutes before he was killed on Feb. 23. A neighbor called 911 and reported someone in the home that afternoon; the home was under construction and not locked.

Minutes later, responding officers found Arbery in the middle of the road, shot to death by Travis McMichael. Another video captured the shooting. The public release of that video last week sparked nationwide attention and calls for immediate arrests.

The McMichaels told responding officers that they chased Arbery because they thought he was responsible for recent break-ins in the neighborhood. However, the only theft reported to police involved a gun stolen from Travis McMichael’s unlocked truck, according to reports provided to WTOC by the Glynn County Police Department.

The revelation of this new video showing a man that looks like Arbery inside the home prompted the GBI to respond. The agency confirmed they had the video as evidence but pointed out they had it before arresting the McMichaels.

Below is the entire statement from the homeowner’s attorney, J. Elizabeth Graddy:

"Mr. English wants to correct the mistaken impression that he had shared this video or any other information with the McMichaels prior to the McMichaels’ decision to chase Mr. Arbery. The homeowners had not even seen the February 23 video before Travis McMichael shot Mr. Arbery. When homeowner Larry English saw the photos of Mr. Arbery that were later broadcast, his first impression was that Mr. Arbery was not the man captured on video inside the house on February 23, and he said that to a neighbor.

In the months prior to February 23, a motion-activated camera had captured videos of someone inside the house (which was and remains a construction site) at night. Mr. English has never said that Mr. Arbery was the person or persons in those videos, and he does not see a resemblance now. After the first time that video captured someone in the house, Mr. English contacted local law enforcement on a non-emergency number and made them aware of the unauthorized entry onto his property. He never used the word "burglary." He never shared any of this information with the McMichaels, whom he did not even know. Nothing was ever stolen from the house -- which, again, was a construction site. Even if there had been a robbery, however, the English family would not have wanted a vigilante response. They would have entrusted the matter to law enforcement authorities. On February 23, the English family was two hours away from the Satilla Shores neighborhood andwas unaware of the tragedy that was unfolding. Mr. English was not the one who called 911 on February 23. The only crime that the homeowner has seen captured on video is the senseless killing of Mr. Arbery.

As a native of South Georgia and an attorney, I personally was following this story in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution prior to the release of the video of the shooting. Based solely on Gregory McMichael's reported statement, my professional opinion was that this was a murder, possibly a capital murder. After seeing the video of the shooting, I wrote to Tom Durdin, the prosecutor to whom the case had been assigned, and expressed that opinion and asked why the McMichaels had not been arrested. I reviewed the published letters written by the two prosecutors who previously handled the case, and my professional opinion is that they are legally unsound. And there are questions in my mind regarding whether the first two prosecutors' handling of this case might have violated the Georgia Bar's Rules of Professional Responsibility.

I am emphasizing these facts to address the impression that some people have that the homeowners took part in the McMichaels’ actions. The homeowners were shocked and deeply saddened by these events, which they learned of after-the-fact. The homeowners are parents, and they are heartsick for Mr. Arbery’s mother and father. Larry English and his family are praying for the Arberys."

Lee Merritt, an attorney for Abrery’s mother responded to the video as well.

Statement from Arbery family attorneys
Statement from Arbery family attorneys(Lee Merritt)

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