Ahmaud Arbery's estate filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Glynn County, numerous law enforcement officers, and the men who were responsible for his death. The filing of the suit came on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of Arbery's shooting death.
Arbery had gone for a run on February 23, 2020 when he was spotted by Travis and Gregory McMichael who pursued him. William Bryan also joined in on the pursuit that ended with Travis McMichael allegedly shooting Arbery to death in the street as Bryan filmed everything. Allegations of racial slurs said by the defendants at the time of the shooting and at other times have been made as well. Both of the McMichaels and Bryan have all pleaded not guilty to murder charges for the death of Arbery.
The new lawsuit specifically named Travis and Gregory McMichael, Bryan, the three men charged in Arbery's death, and also included Police Officer Robert Rash, Police Chief John Powell, ten John Doe police officials, Glynn County, Jackie Johnson, and George Barnhill.
It goes on to allege the local police department, "declined to meaningfully investigate the circumstances surrounding Ahmaud's murder." The federal lawsuit said the local officials engaged in an "effort to cover up what the McMichaels and Bryan had done," and that effort, "continued in the Brunswick County District Attorney's office."
"For nearly three months, Glynn County police officers, the chief of police, and two prosecutors conspired to hide the circumstances surrounding Ahmaud's death and to protect the men who murdered him," the lawsuit stated. "And none of this would have been discovered but for video footage leaked to the media, which showed the horrific and brutal murder of Ahmaud."
The lawsuit alleged that Glynn County's district attorney Jackie Johnson "directed police to not charge Defendants Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and Bryan with any crimes related to Ahmaud's murder." In further claims, the lawsuit says Johnson, "handpicked defendant Ware County District Attorney George Barnhill to take over the investigation, knowing that he too had a personal connection Defendant Gregory McMichael and with the understanding that he would continue to not pursue charges despite the overwhelming evidence."
According to allegations in the lawsuit, "less than twenty-four hours after Defendants Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and Bryan hunted down and executed Ahmaud, and before he was even officially appointed as prosecutor on the case, Defendant Barnhill met with Glynn County detectives to tell them he had concluded that "the act was justifiable homicide."
The 12-count lawsuit asks for damages "in excess of One Million Dollars, including interest, delay damages, punitive and exemplary damages as provided by law" for each count.
Read the entire lawsuit below: