Georgia congressman discusses Ahmaud Arbery case, controversy among his constituents

Attorneys for Ahmaud Arbery’s family want Washington, D.C., involved in the case. They’ve requested a task force and a congressional hearing.

Attorneys for Ahmaud Arbery’s family want Washington, D.C., involved in the case. They’ve requested a task force and a congressional hearing.

Also this week, a lawyer for the Arbery family said that a federal prosecutor told the slain man’s mother federal officials are looking into how the case was handled.

“I’m much more comfortable now than I was, say a month ago, at what is happening,” said U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, a Republican who represents Georgia’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Glynn County.

News4Jax spoke with Carter on Thursday about the case and the controversy among his constituents.

“There’s outrage in the community as to what has happened here. Obviously, a young man has lost his life, and that is something that this community is not going to stand for, that this nation is not going to stand for,” Carter said.

Arbery was fatally shot Feb. 23 when a father and son pursued the 25-year-old after spotting him running in their subdivision just outside of Brunswick. They told police they believed he was responsible for break-ins in their neighborhood.

After Arbery’s killing, more than two months passed before Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, 34-year-old Travis McMichael, were arrested on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault. They were taken into custody less than two days after the case was handed over to Georgia Bureau of Investigation. That hand-off came the same day video of the deadly shooting leaked online, sparking national outrage and questions about the handling of the case by local authorities.

Two weeks later, the man who filmed Arbery’s killing, 50-year-old William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., was arrested on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. According to arrest warrants obtained from GBI, Bryan attempted “to confine and detain” Arbery “utilizing his vehicle on multiple occasions" during the encounter that ended with Arbery’s killing.

Carter said that while he understands the outrage, he’s also proud of the community. Where places across the country have seen violent protests to racially charged deaths, Carter appreciates the way he said people have worked together to make their point.

“We’ve had a core group come together in Brunswick, African American pastors, white leaders, as well," Carter said. "They’ve been determined to keep this under control and not let it get out of control and they’ve done an outstanding job of that.”

More of the interview with Carter will air Sunday morning during “This Week in Jacksonville" on Channel 4.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.