Investigators say they are poring over new video that appear to show Georgia resident Ahmaud Arbery moments before police say the 25-year-old African American was shot and killed by Gregory and Travis McMichael, the father and son who claim they were attempting to perform a citizen’s arrest when they confronted Arbery.
According to police, the McMichaels say they believed Arbery resembled a suspect allegedly seen breaking into homes in their neighborhood, but police say there have been no reports of burglaries or thefts in that area in nearly two months.
The new surveillance video, obtained by Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB, was recorded shortly before Arbery’s death. It shows a man walking outside toward a home construction site and then entering.
Arbery’s family’s attorneys says they believe the video, obtained by ABC News, does show the former football player inside the under-construction home, but they emphasize that he wasn’t breaking the law.
“Our office has reviewed the surveillance video which appears to show a person, believed to be Ahmaud Arbery, entering a property under construction,” the attorneys said in a statement. “The individual remains on the property for under 3 minutes before continuing to jog down the road. This video is consistent with the evidence already known to us. Ahmaud Arbery was out for a jog. He stopped by a property under construction where he engaged in no illegal activity and remained for only a brief period. Ahmaud did not take anything from the construction site. He did not cause any damage to the property.”
“Ahmaud’s actions at this empty home under construction were in no way a felony under Georgia law. This video confirms that Mr. Arbery’s murder was not justified and the actions of the men who pursued him and ambushed him were unjustified,” the statement added.
In a statement, the owners of the under-construction home say they have no relationship with the McMichaels, and would never have wanted what they call a “vigilante response.”
“First, and most important, the English family — the homeowners — want Ahmaud Arbery’s parents to know that they are very sorry for the loss of their son and they are praying for them,” said the statement from Elizabeth Graddy, attorney for homeowner Larry English. “Second, it is crucial to understand that the English family — the homeowners — were not part of what the McMichaels did. The first accounts suggested a link between the McMichaels and the homeowners, but there is none. The English family had no relationship with the McMichaels and did not even know what had occurred until after Mr. Arbery’s death was reported to them. After seeing Mr. Arbery’s photo in news reports, Larry English did not even think Mr. Arbery was the person that appears in this video. Even if it had been, however, Mr. English would never have sought a vigilante response, much less one resulting in a tragic death.”
Arbery’s death — and the long delay before the McMichaels’ arrests — has prompted a public outcry, including an open letter from Roc Nation’s Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, and Meek Mill to Georgia’s governor and attorney general calling for a special prosecutor and swift justice.
“We call upon you today … with the entire world watching, to ensure that a fair trial is conducted,” it said.