Bryan and the McMichaels are accused of using “force and threats of force to intimidate and interfere with Arbery’s right to use a public street because of his race” on Feb. 23, 2020.
The Department of Justice wrote in the release:
Specifically, Count One of the indictment alleges that as Arbery was running on a public street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, Travis and Gregory McMichael armed themselves with firearms, got into a truck, and chased Arbery through the public streets of the neighborhood while yelling at him, using their truck to cut off his route, and threatening him with firearms. Count One also alleges that the offense resulted in Arbery’s death. Count Two alleges that William “Roddie” Bryan joined the chase and used his truck to cut off Arbery’s route.
In addition to the hate-crime charges, Count Three alleges that all three defendants attempted to unlawfully seize and confine Arbery by chasing after him in their trucks in an attempt to restrain him, restrict his free movement, corral and detain him against his will, and prevent his escape. Counts Four and Five allege that during the course of the crime of violence charged in Count One, Travis used, carried, brandished, and discharged a Remington shotgun, and Gregory used, carried, and brandished a .357 Magnum revolver.
All three defendants have also been charged in a separate state proceeding with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. No trial date has been set for the state case.
Two different Georgia district attorney offices are being investigated for “possible prosecutorial misconduct” in the handling of the investigation of Arbery’s death. Even though Bryan captured footage of the moments leading up to the shooting and the Glynn County Police Department obtained the video the same day, Gregory and Travis McMichael weren’t arrested until May 7, 2020 the Georgia Bureau of Investigations said. That was a full 74 days after Arbery’s death, which was ruled a homicide.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Justice Department bought the false narrative that the media and state prosecutors have promulgated,” Travis McMichael said in a statement WSB radio obtained. “There is absolutely nothing in the indictment that identifies how this is a federal hate crime and it ignores without apology that Georgia law allows a citizen to detain a person who was committing burglaries until police arrive.” State lawmakers have since passed legislation, supported by the governor, that effectively repeals the 158-year-old statute Democrats argue enabled Arbery’s killers by allowing them to legally attempt a citizen’s arrest.
Arbery’s case has been passed from prosecutor to prosecutor, with the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office being the fourth prosecutors’ office to take on the case. Former Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes, who was unseated in a recent election by Democrat Flynn Broady, told WSB radio the federal charges make a statement. “It’s telling the story of what this case was just bringing forward for the public,” Holmes said. “Unfortunately, the evil that was seen and that was done to Ahmaud Arbery on that day. I was very happy to hear that the indictments came down.”
The lead prosecutor over the case, Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans, resigned and was replaced with Senior ADA Linda Dunikoski, First Coast News reported. “I have complete confidence in her abilities,” Broady told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.