One of three men arrested in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery said that another of the defendants used a racial slur after fatally shooting Arbery, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) testified Thursday.
Richard Dial, the GBI assistant special agent in charge of the case, testified in a preliminary hearing that William Bryan, who filmed the three men’s pursuit and confrontation of Arbery, had said Travis McMichael used the slur after firing on him, The New York Times reported.
The hearing was to determine if probable cause exists for the charges against the three men, according to the newspaper. Although Arbery died in February, the three men were not arrested until May after the video surfaced.
McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, claimed that they pursued Arbery, an unarmed black man who was jogging in the neighborhood, because they believed him to be responsible for a string of burglaries in the area, although local police later said no such crime spree was reported.
Travis McMichael has claimed Arbery attempted to grab his shotgun and that he shot him in self-defense. Bryan, who filmed the encounter, was arrested on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. In the police report, Gregory McMichael suggests Bryan participated in their pursuit of Arbery and attempted to block his path.
The district attorney’s office with jurisdiction over Brunswick, Ga., near where Arbery was killed, recused itself from prosecuting the case, citing the fact that the elder McMichael, a retired police officer, was a longtime investigator for the prosecutor’s office.
Protests have erupted in cities across the U.S. over the past week following the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis last week. Demonstrators, decrying the killing of unarmed African Americans, have also frequently invoked Arbery’s case as well as that of Breonna Taylor, a Louisville, Ky., emergency medical technician killed by police serving a so-called no-knock warrant.