Things That Matter

New Video Shows Police Response To Ahmaud Arbery’s Death And It’s Raised Big Questions

Update December 18, 2020

Video from the scene of Ahmaud Arbery’s death is reigniting anger over the innocent man’s death. Arbery was savagely gunned down while jogging for no other reason than being a Black man jogging in that part of Georgia. New video shows the police not acting to help Arbery when responding to the call.

A new video shows the actions of police officers responding to Ahmaud Arbery’s death.

The video shows police arriving at the scene of Arbery’s death. He was alive when the police arrived but police started to interact with the three men who killed Arbery. From the beginning, the police seem to buy the story of the three white men without question.

Ahmaud’s killers were free for months after killing the man on Feb. 23. It wasn’t until cell phone footage from one of the men was released that showed the true callous extent of the crime. The release of the cell phone video and this new body cam video is bringing hope to the Arbery family that they will finally see justice in the man’s death.

Original: The death of Ahmaud Arbery helped spur much of the anger and pain that have led to the massive movement for justice and racial equality across the nation. His death, at the hand of three white men who chased him while he jogged, has been on the tips of everyone’s tongues as they shout “Black Lives Matter!”

The 25-year-old Black man was gunned down after a struggle between him and three white men who had accused him of being responsible for a string of burglaries, despite having zero evidence.

The three men implicated in Arbery’s murder have been charged and indicted by a grand jury on nine counts, including felony murder.

The men are facing nine charges, including felony murder.

The three men who have been accused in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was on a jog through his neighborhood, were indicted on Wednesday by a grand jury on nine counts.

Gregory and Travis McMichael, a father and son, as well as William “Roddie” Bryan, were charged in May in the Feb. 23 killing of Arbery. But a grand jury was convened to officially indict the three men.

Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes announced the indictment on nine counts, including malice murder, felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. 

“This is another step forward in seeking justice for Ahmaud. Our team from the Cobb Judicial Circuit has been committed to effectively bringing forward the evidence in this case, and today was no exception,” Holmes said in a statement. 

“We will continue to be intentional in the pursuit of justice for this family and the community at large as the prosecution of this case continues.”

They had already been charged with murder but because of the Coronavirus, they hadn’t officially been indicted.

Credit: Sean Rayford / Getty Images

The Coronavirus pandemic had slowed legal proceedings across the country. A grand jury is required to meet in person and, therefore, they weren’t able to convene until after June 12, once the state lifted stay-at-home measures.

What’s the difference between being charged and indicted?

Prosecutors in the U.S. have a lot of discretion when it comes to deciding on how to proceed with a criminal case. For one, a prosecutor themselves can examine the evidence (usually supplied by police officers) and decide to issues charges against a defendant.

Or they can present the evidence to a grand jury, who will decide if the state can bring charges against the defendant. There is little difference for the person charged with the crime but the process is different.

Arbery’s killing angered the nation and the botched investigation following his murder proved the need for police reform.

Credit: Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Gregory and Travis McMichaels, a father and son, had told police there had been break-ins in the neighborhood and that they began to chase Arbery in their truck when they saw him “hauling ass.”

They heavily armed themselves before hopping in their pickup truck and chasing down Arbery. They confronted him alongside a wooded road and, after a struggle with a shotgun, Arbery was shot by Travis.

No arrests were immediately made in the killing of the young Black man, and outrage intensified when cellphone video of the pursuit and the shooting was publicly released.

And the resulting investigation proved the need for extensive police reforms.

The handling of the case has been marred with conflicts of interest, since one of the men involved is a former investigator for the District Attorney’s office and a former police officer. Several law enforcement officials have had to recuse themselves from the case because of their connections to the McMichael family.

Only after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation stepped in to investigate, were the suspects finally brought in on murder charges. Many, including leading politicians on both sides of the aisle, issued harsh statements condemning the manner in which Arbery’s murder was being handled.

Despite the frustration, Arbery’s family has held strong and has remained committed to making sure that his killers are held accountable for their actions, and that justice is served.

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The Lead Investigator In Derek Chauvin Case Says He Heard George Floyd Incorrectly

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The Lead Investigator In Derek Chauvin Case Says He Heard George Floyd Incorrectly

Stephanie Keith / Getty

Updated April 7, 2021.

The opening statements of Derek Chauvin’s criminal trial took place in late March and revealed shocking details on the case of George Floyd. One of the biggest revelations came from the prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds rather than the commonly believed 8 minutes and 46 seconds. In addition to this, is the reveal that it was in fact a 911 dispatcher who witnessed George Floyd’s death last May.

Watching the incident through a nearby police camera, Jena Scurry was in fact the person who called the police on the police officer.

Jena Scurry is the dispatcher who first raised the alarm about Floyd’s death.

“You’re going to learn that there was a 911 dispatcher. Her name is Jena Scurry,” special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell stated during an opening statement on behalf of the state “There was a fixed police camera that was trained on this particular scene. She could see through the camera what was going on. You will learn that what she saw was so unusual and, for her, so disturbing that she did something that she had never done in her career.”

Watching what was happening, Scurry reportedly became so worried by what she saw Chauvin and the three other officers taking part in that she called Minneapolis Sgt. David Pleoger. Ultimately it was Pleoger who managed the officers involved in the murder

“My instincts were telling me something was wrong,” Scurry explained to prosecutors that took place during the trial at Hennepin County Courthouse this past Monday. “It was a gut instinct of the incident: Something is not going right. Whether it be they needed more assistance. Just something wasn’t right.”

Scurry testified that while she could not remember when she called police she was moved to take action after an uncomfortable “extended period of time.” 

At one point, the defense noted that it took some time for Scurry to call Chauvin’s sergeant. In fact, it took nearly 30 minutes from when the dispatcher received the first 911 call about Floyd. She also stated during her testimony that she became concerned when she saw the police vehicle “rocking bath and forth” while Floyd was inside.

Scurry was actually one of “at least three people who called for police intervention as she watched Chauvin kneel on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds during his May 25 arrest outside a downtown convenience store, according to Blackwell,” according to CNN.

On the eighth day of Chauvin’s criminal trial, the special agent who led investigation into George Floyd’s death changed his mind on what he thought he heard Floyd say while Chauvin was kneeling on his neck.

Senior Special Agent James Reyerson who led the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was shown a clip from Minneapolis Police body-camera footage of Floyd during his murder. In the clip, Floyd can be heard something while handcuffed, his stomach pressed to the ground.

“Did it appear that Mr. Floyd said, ‘I ate too many drugs?” Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Reyerson.

“Yes, it did,” Reyerson replied.

After, what CNN describes as “a short break,” the prosecution played an extended clip of the video for for Reyerson.

“Having heard it in context, are you able to tell what Mr. Floyd is saying there?” the prosecutoing attorney Matthew Frank asked.

“Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd was saying, ‘I ain’t do no drugs,” Reyerson replied.

Top-ranking police officials from the Minneapolis Police Department, including the city’s police chief, testified that Chauvin’s use of force against George Floyd was a violation of protocols.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, and Chauvin’s currently-retired former supervisor, Sgt. David Pleoger, testified against him this week during his murder trial for his murder of Floyd. Arradondo testified against Chauvin on Monday said that he “vehemently disagreed” with Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd on May 25, 2020.

“There’s an initial reasonableness in trying to get him under control in the first few seconds,” Arradondo told the jury. “But once there was no longer any resistance — and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless — to continue to apply that level of force to a person prone down, handcuffed behind their back … that in no way, shape, or form is part of our policy, is not part of our training, and is not part of our ethics and values.”

The prosecution team played bystander video of Floyd’s murder during the opening statement and accused Chauvin of violating the oath of his badge.

The prosecutor stated that he also betrayed his post when he refused to help Floyd when he pleaded “I can’t breathe.”

“We plan to prove to you that he’s anything other than innocent,” Blackwell said in his statement.

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Latino Man Whose Wife Died In Atlanta Spa Was Handcuffed, ‘Treated Like A Suspect’

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Latino Man Whose Wife Died In Atlanta Spa Was Handcuffed, ‘Treated Like A Suspect’

Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

As we continue to learn more about the attack on Atlanta’s Asian-American community that left eight dead, we also are learning about Mario González – a survivor of the attack who was treated like a suspect by the Cherokee Sheriff Department.

Despite having lost his wife in the gunfire, police refused to share that news with González as he was handcuffed for hours amid the chaotic scene that was unfolding in the Atlanta suburbs.

A survivor of the Atlanta spa attacks says he was treated like a suspect instead of a victim.

The Latino man and husband who survived the Atlanta spa shootings that killed his wife says cops treated him like a suspect instead of a grieving victim — keeping him handcuffed for hours without telling him his spouse was dead.

“They had me at the police station for all that time until they investigated who was responsible or what had happened,” Mario González said during an interview with the Spanish-language news site Mundo Hispanico. “In the end, they told me my wife had died.

“They knew I was her husband,” Gonzalez said. “Then they told me she was dead when I wanted to know before. I don’t know, maybe because I’m Mexican,” he said. “Because the truth is that they treated me very badly.”

Law enforcement hasn’t responded to the allegations but are already facing severe backlash.

Representatives for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on Sunday, but the accusations leveled by Mr. González come after the agency had already faced scrutiny after a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office described the gunman as having “a really bad day.”

The spokesman, Capt. Jay Baker, was no longer the office’s public representative on the case, and the sheriff, Frank Reynolds, apologized and defended Captain Baker as not intending to disrespect the victims or their families. “We regret any heartache Captain Baker’s words may have caused,” Sheriff Reynolds said.

González and his wife had been on a date night when the massacre took place.

The couple had arrived to Young’s Asian Massage for a fun date night, where they’d both enjoy a relaxing massage. They arrived shortly before the shooting started, Mr. González said in the video interview, and they were ushered into separate rooms for their massages.

Mr. González had met Ms. Yaun at a Waffle House restaurant, where he was a customer and she was a server. Ms. Yaun had been a single mother, raising a 13-year-old son. The couple married last year and had a daughter, who is now 8 months old. “What I need most right now is support,” Mr. González said in the interview.

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