One of the multiple prosecutors who recused themselves from Ahmaud Arbery’s murder case over shady links to the accused killers could soon find herself out of a job after a candidate qualified to challenge her re-election bid in south Georgia.
Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson’s office worked with one in the trio of jailed white men charged with playing separate murderous roles in the killing of Arbery, a Black man who was jogging when he was allegedly racially profiled, chased down by armed men, trapped in the middle of a road and shot dead in February in the coastal town of Brunswick. Gregory McMichael worked for more than 20 years with Johnson’s office as an investigator, prompting her to recuse herself over what she described at the time as a conflict of interest.
But there should be no conflict of interest when it comes to a case of blatant murder, Georgia NAACP President James Woodall argued in a tweet months ago while slamming Johnson in a tweet.
“Any rational person knows that Ahmad Arbery was murdered in broad daylight,” Woodall tweeted in calling for Johnson to “not only resign but be disbarred as well.” Woodall said that given the facts about the case, delaying charges for McMichael, his son, Travis, and their friend William “Roddie” Bryan, was a “grave malpractice and criminal complicity.”
Johnson’s voluntary recusal led to the case being assigned to Ware County District Attorney George Barnhill, who eventually also had to recuse himself after Arbery’s mom, Wanda Cooper, found out that Barnhill’s son works in the Brunswick district attorney’s office, which had previously employed Gregory McMichael.
The series of recusals drew attention to an apparent incestuous relationship between multiple prosecutors’ offices and the accused killers of Arbery and also suggested achieving justice in the case could ultimately be elusive.
Enter Keith Higgins, who last week qualified as an independent candidate to challenge Johnson, a Republican, in a race for district attorney that does not include a Democrat. Prior to Higgins’ candidacy, Johnson was running unopposed and was the presumptive winner in the upcoming election in November.
While it’s unclear how Higgins feels about the law enforcement malfeasance surrounding Arbery’s case, it is clear that Johnson — who was appointed more than a decade ago to be the district attorney of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit — and her mishandling of an obvious case of murder that has been described as a modern-day lynching should no longer be serving in that role.
When Johnson was first appointed during the summer of 2010, she remarked how she was “looking forward to serving the people of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit as district attorney.” Ten years later, her actions surrounding Arbery’s case show she has failed to make good on that promise.
Arbery’s case is now being presided over by Joyette Holmes, a Black woman who is also the district attorney in Cobb County, a former judge and a Republican. She was appointed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, prompting suspicion that she may have been hand-picked to prosecute the case because of her political ties and her apparent loyalty to the governor, who has emerged as a contemptuous figure in the Black community from both rigging his election in 2018 as well as reacting recklessly to the coronavirus crisis in Georgia.
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A Disturbing Timeline Of Ahmaud Arbery's Killing And Investigation In Georgia
1. October 20191 of 32
2. November 2019
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This video is from 11/17. Larry English called 911 on 11/18 and said he had a problem with "other people" the night before. This appears to show that day and is from English's attorney. There is no record of neighbors calling 911 this day, based off records from Glynn Co 911 pic.twitter.com/BXlyYEaBcL— Wright Gazaway (@WrightKATU) May 15, 2020
3. Dec. 20, 2019
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Police told the homeowner where #AhmaudArbery was last seen to contact Greg McMichael if his cameras caught someone on his property. McMichael in turn gathered a posse & began hunting for Ahmaud, or someone who fit his description, catching up with him on 2/23/20– killing him. pic.twitter.com/BmlmW636f5— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) May 16, 2020
4. Dec. 20, 2019
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This is the man that set the plan in motion that led to the murder of #AhmaudArbery.— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) May 18, 2020
ROBERT RASH is a Glynn County Police Officer.
He instructed a homeowner to contact Gregory McMichael to deal w/ trespassers.
McMichael and his son formed a posse and murdered Ahmaud Arbery. pic.twitter.com/ZqZg567Agp
5. Feb. 11, 2020
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Larry English’s attorney gave me this video from Feb 11. It shows the incident outlined in my story when Travis McMichael called 911 and saw someone in the home. On 2/23, he and his father thought the Abrery was who they saw on the 11th pic.twitter.com/C2gVJCJ3xQ— Wright Gazaway (@WrightKATU) May 14, 2020
6. Feb. 23Source:Getty 6 of 32
7. Feb. 27, 2020
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This is the DA who blocked the arrest of 2 white supremacist TERRORISTS after they murdered an innocent black man execution style while he was jogging in his neighborhood— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) May 9, 2020
JACKIE JOHNSON NEEDS TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR OBSTRUCTING & ENDANGERING THE LIVES OF BLACK MEN
ARREST HER pic.twitter.com/ngSIEGMCq1
8. Feb. 27, 20208 of 32
9. Feb. 29, 2020Source:Getty 9 of 32
10. March 2020
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If you’re wondering why no charges were initially filed on the murderers of #AhmaudArbery, it’s because D.A. George Barnhill immediately concluded Arbery was a criminal & that he attacked the men who were hunting him.— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) May 7, 2020
This is letter Barnhill sent to the Brunswick authorities pic.twitter.com/vsGCboful7
11. April 2, 2020
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Police report sheds more light on Satilla Shores shooting https://t.co/Zi6YVGTkhK— The Brunswick News (@Brunswick_News) April 2, 2020
12. April 3, 202012 of 32
13. April 13
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This is District Attorney, Tom Durden, who suggested taking the murder of an innocent black man to a grand jury! Oh btw this the same DA who had the video already for a MONTH and who was arrested for a DUI 2 years ago, let’s make sure he does his JOB!!! #JusticeForAhmaudArbery pic.twitter.com/UuXdlzfqEP— I said so. (@charcekage) May 6, 2020
14. April 26, 2020
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We’ll never know how often Black life is taken, justice denied:— Dr. Malinda S. Smith (@MalindaSmith) May 9, 2020
“Two Weapons, a Chase, a Killing and No Charges.
A 25-year-old man running through a Georgia neighborhood ended up dead. A prosecutor argued that the pursuers should not be arrested” @nytimes https://t.co/pJA6kSK6cj
15. April 28, 202015 of 32
16. May 5, 202016 of 32
17. May 5, 202017 of 32
18. May 7, 202018 of 32
19. May 8, 202019 of 32
20. May 8, 2020
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On what would have been his 26th birthday, people were jogging 2.23 miles in his honor to signify the date he was killed by Gregory and Travis McMichael, who racially profiled and shot the jogger in Brunswick, Georgia. #IrunwithMaud #IRunwithAhmaudhttps://t.co/V2KuBaeKjx— NewsOne (@newsone) May 9, 2020
21. May 9, 2020Source:Getty 21 of 32
22. May 10, 202022 of 32
23. May 11, 2020
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Another huge WIN for #JusticeForAhmaud! At the family’s demand— a special prosecutor will replace Tom Durden the S. GA prosecutor that sat on the case until video of Ahmaud’s murder was leaked. Joyette Holmes is out of @cobbcountygovt. Her office is being reviewed for conflicts. pic.twitter.com/rcuQ7UPOfE— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) May 11, 2020
24. May 12, 2020Source:Twitter 24 of 32
25. May 13, 2020
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“Ahmaud, I am so sorry. I should have stopped them,” reads the note. “I am so sorry.” The card was not signed by a name and no more information or context was provided, including when the card was left there. https://t.co/nzzY5aNple— NewsOne (@newsone) May 14, 2020
26. May 14, 2020Source:Getty 26 of 32
27. May 18, 2020
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Because this story wasn't bad enough now we discover Lindsay McMichael, the daughter and sister of Ahmaud Arbery’s alleged killers, posted a picture of Ahmaud’s deceased body to snapchat pic.twitter.com/RwTwzrAXAG— Reese Waters (@reesewaters) May 19, 2020
28. May 18, 202028 of 32
29. May 20, 2020Source:Getty 29 of 32
30. May 20, 2020
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Today, the GA Congressional Delegation co-signed a letter to U.S. AG William Barr and Asst AG Eric Dreiband, encouraging the use of “all possible Federal resources to achieve full justice, transparency, and accountability in the case of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery.” https://t.co/8FcMZEEKWF— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) May 20, 2020
31. May 21, 2020Source:WJAX 31 of 32
32. May 25, 2020
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NEW: Attorneys for Ahmaud Arbery's parents announce that the Department of Justice will be investigating Arbery's killing and why it took so long to arrest the people responsible. See their statement here: pic.twitter.com/yfcnrT5SjV— Hayley Mason (@HayleyMasonTV) May 26, 2020
DA Linked To Ahmaud Arbery’s Accused Murderers Could Be Jobless Soon was originally published on newsone.com