Former Brunswick district attorney indicted on charges for hindering Ahmaud Arbery case investigation

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 4:27 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 3, 2021 at 6:13 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (WTOC) - A former district attorney has been indicted on charges related to the investigation of the Ahmaud Arbery case.

According to Georgia Office of the Attorney General, former Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson has been indicted on charges of violation of oath of public officer and obstruction of a police officer.

“Our office is committed to ensuring those who are entrusted to serve are carrying out their duties ethically and honestly,” Attorney General Chris Carr said in a prepared statement. “We thank the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Glynn County Grand Jury for their hard work. While an indictment was returned today, our file is not closed, and we will continue to investigate in order to pursue justice.”

According to the indictment, Johnson “violated the above provision of her oath of District Attorney by showing favor and affection to Greg McMichael during the investigation into the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.”

According to court filings, one of the first phone calls Greg McMichael made after the shooting of Arbery was to Johnson. She did not answer, so he left a message - “Jackie, this is Greg. Can you call me as soon as you possibly can? Um, my friend and I have been involved in a shooting and I need some advice right away. Can you please call me as soon as you possibly can. Thanks. Bye”

LINK >>> Ahmaud Arbery Case

But the relationship between Johnson and her former investigator, Greg McMichael, goes back years. He worked for her as chief investigator in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit.

Greg McMichael retired in 2019 after working there for 24 years. But not after struggling to keep up with his job duties.

Four months before his retirement, he was forced to give up his Peace Officer and Standards Training certification, which allows him to work in law enforcement.

But Johnson decided to keep him on the payroll. According to his personnel file, she redefined his duties so he could work through his retirement date.

He served as a staff liaison with law enforcement. But he no longer could carry a firearm or a badge.

The indictment also states that Johnson hindered two Glynn County Police Department officers by directing that Travis McMichael was not placed under arrest on the day Arbery was shot and killed.

This is the moment Travis McMichael learned he would be taken to police headquarters for questioning after he shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery.

An officer is heard saying, “We’re going to give you a ride to headquarters. You are going to talk to some investigators everything has to be done right.”

“I know. I want it done right. This just doesn’t look good. I just shot a man,” Travis McMichael said.

According to the indictment, she hindered the duties of two Glynn County Police officers at the scene that day. The indictment says she directed them not to arrest Travis McMichael which goes against the laws of the state.

Violation of oath of public officer is a felony that carries 1-5 years. Obstruction and hindering a law enforcement officer is a misdemeanor that carries up to 12 months.

The case will be prosecuted by Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr.

The attorney for the Ahmad Arbery family, Lee Merrit, said “This historic decision by the grand jury in South Georgia at the behest of the Attorney General Carr, we hope will send ripple effects throughout the legal community. Ahmaud Arbery’s murder was a tipping point in this nation for addressing the issue of not only violence and racism, but systemic racism.”

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