Another video has been released in the case of Ahmaud Arbery, and unfortunately, it depicts a cycle of harassment known all too well by black men and women in this country.
According to the Associated Press, a video from 2017 shows Arbery being harassed by Glynn County Police officers. An officer repeatedly asks Arbery if he can search his vehicle to which Arbery declines. Another officer arrives and tells Arbery “don’t reach the car” and “keep your hands out your pockets.” One of the officers attempts to fire his taser at Arbery but nothing occurs. Arbery is then told to get on the ground.
He asks the officers why they’re harassing him and they respond that the area is known for drugs. Arbery tells the officers he’s not on drugs and doesn’t have any weapons. He’s clearly aggravated in the video as he believes the officers are harassing him for no reason on his day off. The police didn’t have a warrant or probable cause so they weren’t allowed to search his vehicle without permission. Arbery was free to leave but couldn’t take his car as his license was suspended.
A police report claims that the officer searched Arbery’s vehicle as they thought it smelled like marijuana and claimed to have seen a bag of a leafy substance in the car. The video’s release comes amid increased scrutiny of Glynn County police and its handling of Arbery’s case. On Feb. 23, Arbery went for a jog in the Satilla Shores neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Ga. Believing he was responsible for a robbery in the neighborhood, Travis and Gregory McMichael followed Arbery and shot and killed him during a confrontation. It wasn’t until video of the incident was released earlier this month that the men were arrested and charges were filed.
Gregory McMichael was a former investigator for the local district attorney. His relationship with law enforcement has resulted in three district attorney’s recusing themselves from the case along with all five circuit judges in the area where Arbery was killed. Attorneys for Arbery’s family believe that this relationship with law enforcement was why it took so long for anything to happen in the case.
Meanwhile, attorneys for the family have expressed their desire for the man responsible for the recording of Arbery’s death to be arrested as well.
“We are going to continue to push for the arrest of William Bryan for recording and participating in the ambush of Ahmaud Arbery,” S. Lee Merritt, one of the attorneys for the family told CNN.
Merritt’s comments come as Kevin Gough, an attorney for Bryan, said that Bryan had taken a polygraph test that proved he did not participate in the shooting. According to Gough, the results of that test have been sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the agency currently investigating Arbery’s death. He said the test proved that Bryan was unarmed at the time of the incident and had no prior contact with either Travis or Gregory McMichael in the moments before the shooting took place.
Gough has publicly pleaded with the Arbery family not to place charges against Bryan. “Mr. Bryan is not your enemy. Please stop, if not for the sake of my client’s family then for the sake of the Arbery family and the cause you fight for.” Gough said.
“The evidence says that he went from his home, according to his attorney, and minutes later he was in his truck following Arbery, who was a jogger in his neighborhood, around. He recorded Ahmaud. The evidence indicates that he blocked Ahmaud with his truck and allowed two other men to ambush and kill him,” Merritt told CNN. He also said that despite Gough’s claims to the contrary, neither he nor any of his co-counselors have been personally contacted by Bryan’s attorney.