Georgia AG Requests DOJ to Conduct Investigation into Handling of Ahmaud Arbery Case

On Sunday, Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr has formally requested the U.S. Department of Justice, led by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Bobby Christine, to conduct an investigation into the handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case. 

This case involves the deadly shooting Mr. Arbery in Glynn County, Georgia on February 23, 2020 within the Brunswick Judicial Circuit. At the time of Mr. Arbery’s death and up until May 7, 2020, no arrests were made in the case. 

“We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “The family, the community and the state of Georgia deserve answers, and we will work with others in law enforcement at the state and federal level to find those answers.”

The request to the U.S. Department of Justice includes, but is not limited to, investigation of the communications and discussions by and between the Office of the District Attorney of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit and the Office of the District Attorney of the Waycross Judicial Circuit related to this case.

On February 27, 2020, the Office of the Attorney General received a request from the Office of the District Attorney of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit to appoint another prosecutor for this case. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-18-5, this Office appointed the District Attorney for the Waycross Judicial Circuit to prosecute the case on that same date.

At the time of the request by the Brunswick Circuit District Attorney and acceptance by the Waycross Circuit District Attorney, neither revealed to the Office of the Attorney General that the Waycross Circuit District Attorney had already taken a role in the case in reviewing evidence and advising the Glynn County Police Department regarding whether to make arrests in the case.  

On April 7, 2020, the Office of the Attorney General received a request from the Office of the District Attorney for the Waycross Judicial Circuit to appoint another prosecutor for this case.

In that request, the Waycross Circuit District Attorney again did not inform the Office of the Attorney General of his prior involvement in the case before his appointment and specifically described to the Office of the Attorney General the actions that he took “upon taking the case.”

In the request of April 7, 2020, the Waycross Circuit District Attorney indicated that he and the Brunswick Circuit District Attorney learned as of “about 3-4 weeks ago,” that his son who is employed as a prosecutor in the Office of the Brunswick Circuit District Attorney had handled a prior prosecution of Mr. Arbery and that one of the defendants in this case had also served as an investigator on the same prosecution.

The request of April 7, 2020 did not provide any reason for the delay in contacting the Office of the Attorney General to request appointment of a new prosecutor since the discovery of those facts. 

Nor did the request of April 7, 2020, reveal that, on April 2, 2020, the Waycross Circuit District Attorney had provided the Glynn County Police Department with a written opinion that no arrests should be made in the case. In that letter, the Waycross District Attorney also confirmed “an initial opinion the day after the shooting” which would have been February 24, 2020.

At that time, he had not requested, nor was he appointed by the Office of the Attorney General to this case.

On April 13, 2020, the Office of the Attorney General appointed the District Attorney for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit to this case.

On May 5, 2020, the Atlantic Circuit District Attorney requested that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) conduct an investigation into the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

The GBI commenced its investigation on May 6, 2020 and made two arrests on May 7, 2020.

The Office of the Attorney General will provide its entire file regarding the appointment process for the prosecutors in this case and provide any assistance requested by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Law.georgia.gov (May 2020) Carr Requests DOJ to Conduct Investigation into Handling of Ahmaud Arbery Case

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