A former Georgia prosecutor has been charged with misconduct after it was discovered that she exploited her position to protect the men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery from being charged with crimes right after the shootings.
On Thursday, September 2, a grand jury indicted Jackie Johnson, a former district attorney for the Brunswick judicial circuit, on counts of breaching her oath of office and impeding a law enforcement officer.
Johnson used her previous work with one of the murder suspects, Gregory McMichael, as motivation to shield the men from prosecution, according to the Thursday indictment.
On February 23, 2020, Arbery was jogging in a Georgia neighborhood when he was allegedly pursued and cornered by Gregory McMichael and his son Travis, who are both White. The two men were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault in May 2020. The McMichaels told police they believed Arbery was a burglary suspect, claiming they acted in self-defense.
William Bryan, the man who recorded the killing, has been charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Bryan has maintained his innocence. In May, all three men pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges.
Arbery’s mother’s lawsuit, which seeks millions in damages, said McMichael previously worked as a police officer and had also worked as an investigator in Johnson’s office for the entirety of her tenure until his retirement in 2019.
In an attempt to allegedly rescue herself due to the conflict of interest, Johnson assigned Arbery’s investigation to another district attorney — George E. Barnhill — who she allegedly knew would be sympathetic to the case due to his own alleged personal connection to Gregory McMichael, the lawsuit added.