The latest developments in the nation’s most-watched case now claims that Gregory McMichael offered to help watch over the construction site that Ahmaud Arbery visited.
The construction site, owned by Larry English, had a motion-activated camera system that had picked up unknown people going onto the property in recent months, including a young man who started entering at night in October, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Newspaper. English would receive alerts and texts with a video each time the camera was activated. He often called police, sometimes texting the footage to the responding police
After a call on December 17, a Glynn County police officer texted English and said that Gregory McMichael was willing to help keep watch of the property.
“Greg is retired Law Enforcement and also a Retired Investigator from the DA’s office,” Officer Robert Rash texted English on December 20, offering McMichael’s phone number. “He said please call him day or night when you get action on your camera.”
Gregory McMichael is a retired Glynn County police officer and retired last year as an investigator for the District Attorney’s office.
Concerns on why an officer would enlist a citizen to contact a former officer have mounted. It also raises the question of what if there was a situation that needed police response? A former police officer or not, it seems like a dangerous situation to put someone who is not authorized to act.
LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar, a past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, stated:
“I’m not aware of any accepted policy for referring someone that requires a police response to delegate that response to a former law enforcement officer who happens to live in the neighborhood.” It supports the stance that McMichael had a relationship with local law enforcement tasked with investigating the shooting, which further explains why the GBI should have immediately been involved.
“If it’s not a real conflict, it’s certainly a significant perception of one,” he added.
English’s attorney Elizabeth Gaddy said her client has talked to the GBI about the events taking place months before the shooting. English told police nothing was ever taken from the property, and that he never enlisted McMichael’s help. Gaddy says her client does not remember the text message that she discovered while gathering information. According to her, English was two hours away the day of the shooting and has had serious medical issues in the past several months and hasn’t been to the construction site much this year.
S. Lee Merritt, attorney for Arbery’s family, told the AJC he has concerns about what it means about the events leading up to the killing and the aftermath with the way the investigation unfolded.
“If anybody was going to stop this from happening it was law enforcement,” Merritt said. “Instead, they encouraged it.”
Arbery was killed on February 23, by Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael, at the time of the incident, police did not find a reason to arrest the two. On May 5th, footage of Arbery’s death was released, showing the McMichaels, armed and confronting Arbery, who was jogging in the area. Three shots can be heard on the video clip before Arbery collapses to the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The McMichaels claimed Travis shot Arbery out of self-defense.
There was widespread outrage over the mishandlings of the case; people virally protested for justice. The GBI was requested to handle the case in April and found probable cause within 36 hours of reviewing the case to arrest the McMichaels 10 weeks later. They are currently being held in the local jail without bond.
Gregory McMichael’s attorney denied commenting.