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Ga. district attorney fires back after accusations she stopped arrests following Ahmaud Arbery shooting

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – She’s accused of stopping police from making an arrest in the Ahmaud Arbery shooting when it first happened but Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson said that’s a lie.

Speaking publicly about the case for the first time last week, Johnson also told a Southeast Georgia radio station that she’s the victim of retaliation.

“I was just horrified because that’s so far from the truth. It’s just a straight-up lie,” she said on May 11.

On the Butch and Bob radio show, WIFO-FM in Southeast Georgia, Johnson said she never told local police, not to make an arrest when 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed back in February.

(Interview begins at 4:50)

She was the first district attorney to handle the case and is accused of directing Glynn County police officers not to arrest Gregory and Travis McMichael -- the father and son seen on video in the deadly confrontation with Arbery.

Gregory McMichael once worked for Johnson as an investigator, and that’s why Johnson says she knew she couldn’t get involved.

“I did not talk to Glynn County police that day. One of my investigators contacted me and said he had heard something about there was a shooting in, in that neighborhood and he may, and my investigator may be involved, or my former investigator. And I told the person that called me, I says look -- we cannot be involved in that, we cannot go out there. We cannot do anything,” she said in the interview.

Johnson later recused herself and her office, giving the case to Waycross District Attorney George Barnhill who also had to recuse himself after Arbery’s mother discovered Barnhill’s son worked for the Brunswick District Attorney’s office where Gregory McMichael worked.

The radio DJ asked Johnson, why give the case to Barnhill knowing about his conflict.

“It being the nearest DA’s office, I just wanted to be able to try to get them somebody initially, um, to help them make a decision. I didn’t expect or try to direct him in any way, other than hey, will you go over and see if you can help 'em.”

Johnson says, she believes she’s being vilified, as retaliation.

“We’ve had some corruption issues in the Glynn County Police Department and my office has been, um, at the forefront of trying to deal with some of those," she said.

Back in March, she said, the Glynn County police chief and three former officers were all arrested in a separate case, accused in a narcotics unit cover-up. Johnson stepped aside from that case as well.


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