The second district attorney assigned to evaluate the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man shot while jogging by two white men, initially called it “justifiable homicide,” according to a statement from Glynn County released on Saturday. The two-page statement defends the heavily criticized Glynn County Police Department and deflects blame to two district attorneys, who they say prevented police from making arrests in the case. Two Glynn County Commissioners made a similar claim on Friday.
District Attorney George Barnhill, from Georgia’s Waycross Judicial Circuit District, concluded there was insufficient evidence for arrest warrants and charges after taking over the case from the Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson. Barnhill ultimately recused himself from the case because Gregory McMichael had worked in the attorney’s office years prior. “I appreciate there is immediate pressure on your department as to the issue of ‘arrest,’” Barnhill wrote in his recusal request. Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault Friday for Arbery’s killing.