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Georgia attorney general asks Justice Department to investigate handling of Ahmaud Arbery case

Celebrities call for justice for Ahmaud Arbery
Celebrities call for justice for Ahmaud Arber... 01:19

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr on Sunday sent a formal request to the U.S. Department of Justice, asking them to investigate the handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case. Arbery, 25, was shot and killed February 23, but no arrests were made until Thursday, after cellphone video of the shooting emerged earlier in the week.

"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," Carr said in a press release Sunday.

The case is currently on its third prosecutor due to conflicts of interest. According to Carr, his office received a request from Office of the District Attorney of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit on February 27 to appoint on new prosecutor. Carr's office granted the request and appointed the Waycross Judicial Circuit's district attorney. 

"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," Carr said in the statement.

A second request to appoint another new prosecutor was made on April 7, according to Carr. 

"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," Carr said. "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."

Georgia Chase Deadly Shooting
Gregory McMichael, left, and his son Travis McMichael, were charged on May 7, 2020, with murder in the February shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. Glynn County Detention Center via AP

One of the two suspects, Gregory McMichael, 64, used to work for the local district attorney as a law enforcement officer. McMichael's son, Travis, 34, was also arrested.

When Carr was asked Saturday why the McMichaels went months without being arrested, he said, "There's a lot of questions that are being asked, and I'm asking the same thing."

"What I do know is that once the state was asked to participate, it took 48 hours," Carr added.

Several local county commissioners have stated that the office of Jackie Johnson, the local district attorney that McMichael used to work with, initially blocked the arrests in February.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations on Sunday arrested a man who made a Facebook post "that contained a threat to future protests related to Ahmaud Arbery." Rashawn Smith, 20, was charged with Dissemination of Information Relating to Terroristic Acts, according to the GBI.

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