Text suggests Gregory McMichael was deputized before Ahmaud Arbery shooting

Neighbor’s attorney: officer advises construction site owner to contact McMichael

A text message from Larry English, the construction site owner's, phone from December suggests Gregory McMichael was deputized prior to the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. (WJXT)

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A photo of a text message is the newest piece of information News4Jax has uncovered regarding the Ahmaud Arbery investigation. The photo prompts more questions about what was happening in that Satilla Shores neighborhood before Arbery was shot and killed.

The message comes from Larry English’s cell phone. English is the owner of the home under construction in Brunswick Georgia that Arbery was accused of walking into before he was shot and killed while going for a jog in the neighborhood.

The photo shows a text message from an Officer Rash with the Glynn County Police Department telling Larry English to contact Gregory McMichael, his neighbor on Satilla Drive, if English saw any action on his surveillance camera.

English’s attorney Beth Graddy told News4Jax this text message dates back to last year.

“I can confirm that Larry English’s phone received that text on Dec. 20, but he did not see it until today because [English] often fails to open texts and even emails," Graddy said on May 15, 2020. “He is not tech-savvy, and this is a photo taken with another phone because he does not know how to take a screenshot.”

According to Graddy she received the text message “a couple of days ago” in a batch of emails that included the Feb. 11 email from Diego Perez.

News4Jax has learned that Perez is another neighbor in Satilla Shores who is also listed as a witness in the Arbery case.

“I didn’t get to review the officer’s texts for some time because I was reviewing Diego’s and the newly located videos. And it’s sandwiched between two strings of videos that I was focused on. But when I saw it, I immediately understood that an organization had been developing in that neighborhood at least since December,” Graddy said. “It appears that Gregory McMichael had been informally ‘deputized’ by the Glynn County Police Department.”

Its unclear when McMichael was deputized or why. It’s also unclear why a police officer, if the text is accurate, would tell someone to call McMichael instead of the local police department.

News4Jax reached out to the Glynn County Police Department to find out how long McMichael has been deputized by their department and is it even allowed. We are still waiting for a response.

About the Authors:

Veteran journalist and Emmy Award winning anchor

McLean is a reporter with WJXT, covering education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.