One of the Men Involved in Ahmaud Arbery’s Death Lost the Ability to Make Arrests When He Was in Law Enforcement

Gregory McMichael’s law enforcement certification was suspended in February 2019, according to personnel records reviewed by the Washington Post.
May 14, 2020, 3:08pm
This Thursday, May 7, 2020, photo provided by the Glynn County Detention Center, in Georgia, shows Gregory McMichael. McMichael and his son Travis McMichael have been charged with murder in the February shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, whom they had pursu

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Gregory McMichael, one of two men charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, failed to complete necessary use-of-force trainings when he was working in county law enforcement and lost his power to make arrests last year.

McMichael’s law enforcement certification was suspended in February 2019, according to personnel records reviewed by the Washington Post, due to repeated failures to complete state-mandated trainings. At the time, McMichael was working as an investigator at the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. One year later, that agency would become the first to review how McMichael and his adult son, Travis McMichael, came to chase down, shoot, and kill Arbery on Feb. 23 after they said they saw the 25-year-old enter a home that was still under construction a few times. District Attorney Jackie Johnson recused herself days after the shooting over the conflict of interest.

The McMichaels were arrested last week and charged with murder and aggravated assault, more than two months after the death, when athird prosecutor had taken over the case and the state’s Bureau of Investigation stepped in. Georgia’s attorney general now wants state investigators to probe the first two prosecutors involved in Arbery’s case, since both had ties to the elder McMichael.

While working for Brunswick’s district attorney, Gregory McMichael missed multiple state-mandated trainings, including firearms and use-of-force courses, losing his power to make arrests at least twice.

In 2014, he discovered he hadn’t been properly certified for eight years and was placed on desk duty, according to WSB-TV, an ABC affiliate in Georgia. Gregory McMichael said his errors stemmed from health and financial issues within his family. He was able to keep his job after the district attorney vouched for him, though he later missed training in 2018, too.

Previously, he had fallen short of training hours in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010, according to the Post, and missed at least three use-of-force courses.

Gregory McMichael eventually lost his arrest powers when the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council issued a suspension order in 2019, according to the Post. He was then moved into a staff liaison job until he retired in June, according to WSB-TV. He gave up his badge and weapon in the meantime.

Less than a year later, on Feb. 23, McMichael saw Arbery while he was out for a jog and called out to his son, Travis. The two men armed themselves, hopped in their truck, and followed Arbery, which led to an encounter in which Travis shot Arbery three times.

Gregory told police in a report filed that day that there had been “several break-ins in the neighborhood” and that he took Arbery for a suspect. One local prosecutor said that made the chase justified through the state’s citizen arrest law. But Arbery’s family has insisted the 25-year-old was innocent and just loved to go out for jogs. They’ve also called the killing racially motivated.

Laura Hogue, and her husband Franklin Hogue, both attorneys for Gregory McMichael, are holding a press conference Friday. It’s not immediately clear who is representing Travis McMichael.

“So often the public accepts a narrative driven by an incomplete set of facts, one that vilifies a good person, based on a rush to judgment, which has happened in this case,” Laura Hogue said in a statement.

Cover: This Thursday, May 7, 2020, photo provided by the Glynn County Detention Center, in Georgia, shows Gregory McMichael. McMichael and his son Travis McMichael have been charged with murder in the February shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, whom they had pursued in a truck after spotting him running in their neighborhood. (Glynn County Detention Center via AP)

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