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Lawyer plans civil lawsuit against Glynn County police over death of Ahmaud Arbery

Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, poses for a photo by a mural in the likeness of Arbery painted by artist Theo Ponchaveli in Dallas, Saturday, May 9, 2020. Arberys mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, has said she thinks her son, a former high school football player, was jogging for exercise before he was killed on Feb. 23. After a video of the shooting emerged on social media, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, on Wednesday, arrested Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, and they were jailed on murder and aggravated assault charges. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, poses for a photo by a mural in the likeness of Arbery painted by artist Theo Ponchaveli in Dallas, Saturday, May 9, 2020. Arberys mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, has said she thinks her son, a former high school football player, was jogging for exercise before he was killed on Feb. 23. After a video of the shooting emerged on social media, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, on Wednesday, arrested Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, and they were jailed on murder and aggravated assault charges. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. – The attorneys involved in three cases that have drawn national attention spoke Wednesday as they push for justice for Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

Arbery, 25, was shot to death while running in Glynn County. The lawyer representing his family said a civil lawsuit will be filed against the county in the next 10 days.

A video from Brunswick shows the February killing of Arbery. It wasn’t until it was leaked in May that authorities arrested father and son duo Travis and Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan. The men told investigators they were following Arbery because they believed he was breaking into a home in their neighborhood, according to police reports.

“We think Glynn County [police] shares accountability for Ahmaud Arbery’s death in encouraging neighbors to rely on vigilante justice,” said Lee Merritt, the Arbery family attorney.

Merritt said he’s filing a civil wrongful death lawsuit within the next 10 days adding that district attorneys Jackie Johnson and George Barnhill are now under FBI investigation for their handling of the case. Both Barnhill and Johnson declined to press charges against the men involved in Arbery’s shooting death.

“These are attorneys who set their duties aside and moved forward pretending to prosecute a case they had no intention of prosecuting,” Merritt said.

Ben Crump is the lawyer for the families of George Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, and for the loved one of Breonna Taylor, who Louisville police fatally shot during a no-knock raid in March.

“Obviously for Breonna Taylor and the no-knock warrants…50% of the time they’re executed on black people and we only make up 13% of the population,” Crump said.

None of the officers have been arrested in the Taylor case and the four officers in Floyd’s death have been charged.

The attorneys said more must be done nationwide to hold police accountable, which means requiring body camera footage, banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants and requiring the federal government to investigate all police-involved shootings.

“I don’t think any systematic reform is going to be signed by this White House. So we have to do what we have to do to get an administration change. Senate, too,” Crump said.

Attorneys have filed lawsuits in both the Floyd and Taylor cases, saying their deaths were predictable and possibly racially motivated.

As of now, none of the agencies involved in the deaths are commenting because the cases are still ongoing.


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