clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Biden calls for justice in Ahmaud Arbery ‘murder’ after video of killing goes viral

‘My heart goes out to his family, who deserve justice and deserve it now,’ the former vice president said on Twitter.

In this March 12, 2020 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus in Wilmington, Del.
Matt Rourke, Associated Press

Former Vice President Joe Biden has called for justice for a black Georgia man killed by two armed white men in February after a video of the shooting — involving a former police officer and his son — surfaced on the internet this week.

“The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood,” the presumptive Democratic nominee for president wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening. “My heart goes out to his family, who deserve justice and deserve it now. It is time for a swift, full, and transparent investigation into his murder.”

The 25-year-old was shot and killed on the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 23, just a short jog from his mother’s home where he was living near Brunswick, Georgia, The New York Times reported.

The graphic video appears to show two white men — identified as 34-year-old Travis McMichael with a long gun and his father Gregory McMichael, a 64-year-old former police officer, armed with a handgun — attempting to stop Arbery, who is jogging. It is light outside and the person recording the video appears to have driven up to scene of the killing just as the men confront Arbery.

The camera follows Arbery, who is wearing athletic clothing, as he jogs on the left-hand side of the road. Ahead, a pickup truck is stopped on the right-hand side of the road. One man — Travis McMichael — is seen standing beside an open driver side door and another, Gregory McMichael, is seen standing in the bed of the truck. Yelling can be heard moments before Arbery crosses the road and passes the vehicle on the passenger side shoulder, putting the truck between himself and Travis McMichael standing in the middle of the road.

A gun shot is heard and then Travis McMichael and Arbery are seen in front of the truck struggling over a long gun held by Travis. A second shot is heard while the two are out of the picture. When they return to the frame, Travis McMichael appears to have a commanding hold of the gun with Arbery in front of the muzzle at point blank range. Arbery looks to try to punch the armed Travis who fires the gun. Blood appears to soak through Arbery’s shirt, who stumbles for several steps, moving away from Travis McMichael, before collapsing on the double yellow line of the road. Travis McMichael walks away, long gun in hand, while his father, who has now left the bed of the truck, appears to approach Arbery. Gregory McMichael is holding a handgun as he approaches.

The video is less than a minute long. The three men are the only people shown in the video, which shows discrepancies with the statement Gregory McMichael gave to the police after the killing.

In a police report published by The New York Times, Gregory McMichael — identified as a witness — described the shooting to a responding Glynn County police officer. The senior McMichael told police that Arbery looked like a suspect in several neighborhood break-ins. He said that he and his son armed themselves with a shotgun and a handgun, and gave chase to the running man in a pickup. Gregory McMichael told police a third person, “Roddy,” had also tried to stop Arbery. When the men did stop and talk to Arbery — Travis McMichael outside the stopped truck and Gregory McMichael in the truck’s bed — Gregory McMichael said the jogger “violently attacked Travis” and the two fought over the shotgun. His son fired the gun twice, he told police.

Neither man has been charged in the killing.

But on Tuesday, an outside prosecutor assigned to examine the Arbery case said the evidence should be presented to a grand jury, The Associated Press reported. This came after Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson recused herself from the case, because until last year, Gregory McMichael was an investigator for the district attorney’s office. He is also a former police officer.

As of Wednesday afternoon, President Donald Trump has not commented on the killing.

The video of the shooting, which is graphic and difficult to watch, was published by TMZ and has been widely circulated on social media.