On Sept. 2, a Glynn County grand jury indicted former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson, claiming that the ex-prosecutor used her position of power to protect the men involved in Ahmaud Arbery’s murder on February 23, 2020.
According to the Associated Press, Johnson now faces a felony count over violating her oath of office and a misdemeanor for hindering a law enforcement officer.
The indictment follows Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr’s investigation of local prosecutors and their handling of Arbery’s death.
“While an indictment was returned today, our file is not closed, and we will continue to investigate in order to pursue justice,” Carr emphasized in a statement.
In response to the news of Johnson’s indictment, Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper Jones shared on Facebook: “Former DA Jackie Johnson….Indicted!!! JusticeForMyBaby!!!!
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On the day of Arbery’s death, the 25-year-old Black man was followed by an armed white father and son duo in a pickup truck after the two — Greg and Travis McMichael — spotted Arbery jogging in their Brunswick, Georgia, neighborhood, about 70 miles south of Savannah.
CNBC detailed that William “Roddie” Bryan, a white neighbor of the McMichaels, followed the two men in a separate truck. Bryan later recorded Travis shooting Arbery three times with a shotgun at close range.
The McMichals later shared they thought Arbery had been a burglar in their neighborhood and that the 25-year-old was shot in self-defense after he’d allegedly attacked Travis.
Neither the McMichaels nor Bryan were charged by local police immediately after the incident. The three men remained free until May 2020, when the video of Arbery’s death was leaked and caused nationwide outcry.
The attention to Arbery’s case came as the country’s racial tensions rose in the aftermath of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s deaths.
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Johnson’s indictment noted that the ex-prosecutor showed “favor and affection” toward Greg McMichael during her investigation of Arbery’s murder and that she’d directed police officers at the scene of the shooting “that Travis McMichael should not be placed under arrest.”
According to CNBC, Greg, 65, was a retired police officer who had worked underneath Johnson’s employment as an investigator.
Johnson ended up recusing herself from the Arbery case due to the conflict of interest shortly after the shooting took place.
The former prosecutor later cited all the publicity surrounding Arbery’s death for her election defeat last year. The role of District Attorney ended up going to her opponent, independent candidate Keith Higgins, who the AP reports “had to collect thousands of signatures to get on the ballot.”
The McMichaels and Bryan all pled not guilty and face their trials next month.
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