Now that Gregory and Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan have been convicted for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the Justice system will focus on the former Brunswick District Attorney, Jackie Johnson.
Gregory McMichael worked for Johnson as an investigator in her office before retiring in 2019. An hour after his son Travis had shot Arbery twice, killing the 25-year-old, records show Gregory McMichael called Johnson and set into motion an almost equally awful miscarriage of Justice.
Arbery’s family believes that call in which McDaniels left a voicemail message for Johnson led to a 74-day delay in arresting the three men and almost prevented the case from moving forward to trial.
Officers with the Glynn County Police Department who were investigating Arbery’s murder also reached out to Johnson’s office for advice on what to do.
Prosecutors claim Johnson’s alleged response to those calls is why there is a two-count indictment against her for violating her oath of office and hindering law enforcement.
According to the September 2 indictment, Johnson obstructed law enforcement “by directing that Travis McMichael should not be placed under arrest, contrary to the laws of said State.”
The more serious count alleges that Johnson violated her oath of office “by showing favor and affection to Greg McMichael during the investigation into the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.” Which is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
The indictment also explained that even as she recused herself from the case because of her connection to McMichael, Johnson influenced the investigation by steering it to nearby Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill.
Johnson then recommended to the Georgia Attorney General’s Office that Barnhill handle the case, but she allegedly failed to disclose to the AG that she had already discussed the case with Barnhill.
Barnhill subsequently concluded that “We do not see grounds for an arrest of any of the three parties.”
Arbery’s family believes that the investigation into their beloved son’s murder could’ve ended at that moment had it not been for the video footage that showed what really happened.
“She didn’t pull the trigger, but she is just as much to hold accountable as the three guys who actually did this to Ahmaud,” Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said after Johnson’s indictment.