The white man who killed Ahmaud Arbery used a racial slur after fatally shooting him, an investigator for the prosecution alleged during a preliminary hearing in court on Thursday, Al Jazeera reports.
According to Special Agent Richard Dial of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, one of the suspects arrested in connection with the killing, William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., alleged during an interrogation last month Travis McMichael, the white suspect who fatally shot Arbery, hurled a racial slur at the victim after shooting him. Bryan filmed the confrontation and fatal shooting.
“Mr Bryan said that after the shooting took place before police arrival, while Mr Arbery was on the ground, that he heard Travis McMichael make the statement: f****** n*****,” Dial testified.
Arbery, 25, was fatally shot and killed on February 23 after he was confronted by Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis, 34, while he was jogging outside Brunswick in Georgia. The older McMichael, who is a retired cop, had told officers that they had chased Arbery in a truck after he thought Arbery looked like a suspect who had been connected to a number of burglaries in the Brunswick area.
When the father and son caught up with Arbery, the deceased struggled with Travis over the shotgun the younger McMichael was holding. Two shots were fired at Arbery during the scuffle before he fell down on the road, the police report said.
Thursday’s hearing, which was to determine if there is enough evidence for the case to head to trial, was given the green light by Glynn County Judge Wallace E. Harrell, NBC News reports.
During the hearing, Dial also revealed other instances Travis McMichael allegedly used racial slurs, citing a response to an Instagram post where he said he preferred if someone had “blown the f—ing n-word’s head off.” In another instance, Travis, who is a former US Coast Guard, used a racial slur while talking about his job.
“One particular one that comes to mind was he made the statement that he loved his job because he’s out on a boat and there aren’t any n-words anywhere,” Dial told the court, NBC News further reports.
Arbery’s death garnered a lot of national attention after the video of the incident was leaked, with people calling on authorities to investigate the case. Gregory and Travis McMichael were subsequently arrested on May 7 on charges of murder and aggravated assault. The third suspect who filmed the fatal shooting, William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., 50, was arrested two weeks later and charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Speaking at Thursday’s hearing, a prosecutor said Arbery, who witnesses revealed was a familiar jogger in the neighborhood, was “chased, hunted down and ultimately executed at the hands of these men. He was defenseless and he was unarmed.”