Before recusing herself from the case involving three men who have been charged in confronting and killing Ahmaud Arbery, a former prosecutor in Georgia failed to reveal that she sought the assistance from another prosecutor before recommending him to take over the case. Oh, and she told police officers not to arrest the son of one of the accused who worked in her office.
Now, Jackie Johnson, a former district attorney in Glynn County, finds herself facing an indictment accusing her of “showing favor and affection” to Gregory McMichael and telling police not to arrest his son, Travis McMichael. Both men and William Bryan, who recorded the killing on cellphone video, have been charged with killing Arbery’s murder.
From the New York Times:
Ms. Johnson is charged with “violation of oath of public officer” and “obstruction and hindering a law enforcement officer,” according to the indictment, which the state attorney general’s office released on Thursday.
The indictment says Ms. Johnson failed “to treat Ahmaud Arbery and his family fairly and with dignity” by not disclosing that she had sought the assistance of another district attorney before recommending that he take over the case. Ms. Johnson recused herself because Gregory McMichael had worked in her office.
She also “knowingly and willfully” directed two Glynn County police officers not to arrest Travis McMichael, “contrary to the laws of said state,” the indictment said.
“Our office is committed to ensuring those who are entrusted to serve are carrying out their duties ethically and honestly,” the state attorney general, Chris Carr, said in a statement, adding that the state was continuing to investigate Mr. Arbery’s case.
Carr was appointed in May 2020; he is now the fourth prosecutor.
The whole thing is incestuous. George E. Barnhill was the district attorney who replaced Johnson, but would later recuse himself because his son worked for her. He was the attorney who advised that the “McMichaels were protected by the state’s citizen’s arrest law and self-defense statutes and should not be held responsible for the killing,” the Times reports.
The third prosecutor, from a smaller county office, was removed when the state attorney general decided that he wasn’t going to be able to handle a case this big and had received national attention.
Also, from the Times:
In February 2020, the McMichaels armed themselves with a shotgun and a handgun and chased Mr. Arbery in a pickup truck, later telling investigators they thought he looked like a man suspected in a rash of break-ins in the area.
As they followed Mr. Arbery, they yelled, “Stop, stop, we want to talk to you,” according to Gregory McMichael’s account in a police report. Mr. Arbery was fatally shot by Travis McMichael after Mr. McMichael got out of the truck, the authorities said.
Ms. Johnson was voted out of office later that year, largely as a result of criticism over her handling of cases including Mr. Arbery’s.