New Video Footage of Ahmaud Arbery- What Does it Show?
South Brunswick, Georgia – New footage of Ahmaud Arbery on the fateful day of his death surfaced from a surveillance video at a construction site not far the McMichael’s home. It appears to show him enter a construction site and stay for less than 5 minutes, then leave without taking anything. The new video shows that he was not armed.
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) May 10, 2020
As Arbery was looking around in the home under construction another man dressed in overalls was watching him from across the street. Another video from the house across the street shows Arbery entering the house under contruction that was open. Under Georgia law, a felony requires that someone “break a seal, break a door, or forcibly enter a dwelling that was locked.”
So what does it mean? Gregory and Travis McMichaels told police that Arbery “matched the description” of someone who had been burglarizing the neighborhood. Even though Arbery walks through the construction site, it does not mean that he was a “burglar”- many people are curious about new homes under construction. The only crime that could be involved is trespassing at this point. Further information on any other videos or pictures could reveal something else.
One 911 call to the police that day for Arbery going into the construction site appeared to come from Travis McMichael. The dispatcher said she would send police. The reporting party mentioned that he was “running” down the street as he spoke with the dispatcher. Transcript via Daily Wire:
CALLER: There’s been break-ins out here. There’s a guy in a house right now. There’s a house under construction.
DISPATCHER: Do you have your address or the other — that house’s address?
CALLER: Uh, right at [omitted].
DISPATCHER: And you say someone’s breaking into it right now?
CALLER: No, it’s all open. It’s under construction and he’s running right now. There he goes right now.
DISPATCHER: OK. What is he doing?
CALLER: He’s running down the street.
DISPATCHER: Okay that’s fine I’ll get them out there. I just need to know what he was doing wrong. Was he just on the premises and not supposed to be?
CALLER: [Inaudible] and he’s been caught on the camera a bunch before at night. It’s kind of an ongoing thing out here.
Failure to report burglary
Glynn County police indicated that there were no recent reports of burglaries in the Satilla Shores neighborhood. There was only one theft of a gun from a truck parked at McMichael’s house on January 1. The shooting occurred on February 23. IF there were other burglaries, no one reported them to police. So the statement that “he’s been caught on camera a bunch before at night” will determine whether or not he was actually the suspect they thought they were looking for, or someone else. IF those photographs and/or video footage are still available. The GBI said they were reviewing pictures as well as video evidence.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution noted:
On the video, the truck, which resembles the one driven by the McMichaels, can be seen driving off in the same direction Arbery had run. The man in the overalls walks down the street and appears to motion toward the truck.
Four minutes after the truck drives off, a police cruiser is seen on the video driving in same direction. Minutes later another cruiser drives by, followed by an EMT truck, a fire truck with lights flashing and more police cruisers speeding by.
A block away, out of view of the home surveillance video, the confrontation with the McMichaels had left Arbery dead on the pavement.
Georgia law allows citizens to make an arrest (something the men both claimed they were going to do) for a felony committed in their presence. There was no felony here, nor was any crime committed in their presence.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution also reported that the GBI had reviewed the video footage prior to the arrest of the McMichaels (emphasis mine).
“We are indeed reviewing additional video footage and photographs as part of the active case,” the GBI said in a statement Saturday afternoon, several hours after the AJC’s article about the video posted online. “It is important to note that this footage was reviewed at the beginning of the GBI investigation and before the arrests of Gregory and Travis McMichael.”
The video appears to be from a home security camera installed at a house about a block from the shooting.
A former Fulton County prosecutor who reviewed the video on Saturday said it doesn’t appear to alter the criminal questions facing the two men arrested in the case.
Lawyers representing Arbery’s family said in a Saturday statement that the security camera video proves Arbery did nothing wrong prior to the fatal encounter: “Ahmaud Arbery did not take part in any felony, had no illegal substances in his system, was not armed yet was shot three times with a shotgun at close range.”
Nothing shows that Arbery attempted or had the intent to attempt a theft. The videos in question appear to show that Ahmaud Arbery was unarmed at the time of his death. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation chose to arrest Gregory McMichael for being a party to murder, and Travis McMichael for murder based on their two month investigation. A judge denied them bail.
Featured photo: screenshot via Atlanta Journal Constitution showing Arbery walking through the home under construction.