Several months before retired police officer Greg McMichael and his son Travis McMichael fatally shot 25-year-old black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, the elder McMichael was enlisted by the local police to help watch the construction site near where Arbery was killed, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The building site, owned by Larry English, had surveillance cameras that alerted English’s phone to any movement. English’s attorney said Friday that Arbery was caught on the cameras several times in both the months and hours leading up to the shooting, and it appeared he was looking for water to drink.
In December, after English alerted Glynn County police to a potential break-in on the site, the local cops told him that Greg McMichael had offered to help keep an eye on the site. “Greg is retired Law Enforcement and also a Retired Investigator from the DA’s office,” Officer Robert Rash texted English on Dec. 20, according to the AJC report. “He said please call him day or night when you get action on your camera.”
The text raises further concerns about whether the close relationship between McMichael and the local police hindered the investigation. McMichael and his son were arrested nearly two months after the shooting, after the case had bounced between local prosecutors who cited a conflict of interest due to their ties with the McMichaels. Other police and prosecutors have told reporters that it’s very odd for police to enlist a retired officer for help. S. Lee Merritt, a lawyer for the Arbery family, said the text message “deputized a group of untrained men in the Satilla Shores community to hunt down suspected trespassers, causing the events of Feb. 23, 2020.”