Accountability for prosecutors interfering in an investigation

On Thursday a grand jury indicted a former Georgia prosecutor for her handling of the homicide of Ahamaud Arbery on February 23, 2020. District Attorney Jackie Johnson is accused of violating her oath of office and obstructing police by helping shield men now charged with murder that went months without any arrests.

In case you forget which unarmed black man was shot in this particular case, 25-year-old Arbery was out jogging when he was shot by white vigilante father-and-son team Gregory and Travis McMichael, who apparently thought any young black man running near a construction site in their neighborhood must be up to no good. A man filmed the fatal confrontation on his cell phone. Some two months later, after Arbery’s family had been told Ahamaud had been killed during a possible burglary, the videotape was leaked and Travis McMichael (34) and his father Gregory (64) were arrested. Gregory McMichael was a retired investigator at the local district attorney’s office. The “videographer” has also been charged in the case.

This is outrageous:

Thursday’s indictment says Johnson showed “favor and affection” to suspect Greg McMichael, who was previously an investigator in her office, and also failed to “treat Ahmaud Arbery and his family fairly and with dignity” when she sought help from another district attorney — now also under investigation — who argued the shooting was justified before recusing himself.

Washington post, 9-2-21

Even more unbelievable, is that accountability for a prosecutor who interferes in an investigation is “historic” because it is so rare. Read the entire Washington Post article to get a feel for how the Brunswick, GA, DA’s office does business. No one would have ever been the wiser unless that videotape surfaced. Taking care of their own.

Arbery’s mother correctly observed that this tragedy, once it was in the hands of unethical prosecutors, could have “easily been buried.” “‘If the family had not pushed it,’ she said, ‘it would be business as usual.”

Business as usual. What you don’t know won’t hurt you, right?

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