In February, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was shot dead in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of southern Georgia. In the next two months, there were no arrests. But local residents and lawmakers protested what they said was a deadly combination of racial profiles and flawed self-defense laws. “When they stop you, make sure your camera is on. Make sure you have a video.” The police finally arrested 2 suspects, but a few days after this fatal shooting video appeared. Gregory McMichael and his son Travis were charged with aggravated murders and attacks. This case has reignited the national debate on racial violence. “I’m sure you saw the news about Ahmaud Arbery.” “It looks like murder.” “The American public saw the video.” What really happened at the last moment of Mr. Arbery? Using security camera footage, cellphone videos, and 911 calls and logs, The Times has reconstructed critically 12 minutes from when Mr. Arbery appeared on Satilla Drive until his death, less than 300 meters away. Around 1 p.m. on February 23, when Ahmaud Arbery was out, less than 2 miles from his home. A security camera on 219 Satilla Drive is recording when Mr. Arbery enters the frame around 1:04 p.m. He might be jogging in that area, but he stopped at the front yard of 220 Satilla, a house under construction across the street. Arbery glanced around and wandered to an open construction site. Inside, the security footage caught him briefly. While outside, a neighbor walked from Jones Road to Satilla Drive and called 911. The neighbor waited on the corner. He will then notify the operator that Arbery resembled a recent intruder in the area. On several occasions before February 23, several intruders were caught on camera at 220 Satilla. The owner routinely notifies the police. On four occasions, what appeared to be the same person was filmed. It is not clear if this is Arbery, but even if it is, this does not justify the shooting by neighbors outside on the street. The site owner said nothing was stolen from the house during this incident or on February 23, and no property was ever damaged. But the neighbors are aware of the violations and the community is alert. Now, back to the day. It’s 1:08 pm and Arbery is walking around the house. Four minutes after he entered, he walked out and ran. In the upper corner of the security footage, we can see the road to 230 Satilla, home of Travis McMichael. At 1:10 pm, Travis and his father, Gregory, took their weapons, jumped in a white truck, and left the house to chase Mr. Arbery. We don’t have footage that shows the next 3 minutes, but Gregory McMichael’s testimony tells the police at the scene, and an interview with another witness, Roddy Bryan, shows what happened. Gregory and Travis McMichael followed Arbery to Burford Road. Their neighbor Roddy Bryan saw the chase, got in his car and followed. McMichaels tried to cut Arbery. Arbery doubled back and passed them. Bryan tried to block Arbery, but Arbery ran past him and headed for Holmes Road. Gregory McMichael rode from the taxi to the truck bed armed with a gun. We don’t know exactly what happened next. But Bryan and McMichaels finally followed Arbery on Holmes Road. And then we see Arbery at 1:14 p. ran back down Holmes Road away from Roddy Bryan and headed for McMichaels. Roddy Bryan is shooting and – a warning – this scene is sad. Gregory McMichael is calling 911 at this time. Let’s look at this again and describe what happened. This is Arbery. He has been running from vehicles for almost 4 minutes. Travis stood on the side of the truck, armed with a shotgun. Gregory was in the truck bed on the 911 call. Arbery didn’t know where to run. He turned right, then left and then bolted on the right side of the vehicle. Arbery came in front of the truck. We see his white shirt through the windshield and here is Travis now leaning towards him. This is the first instant a shot is fired. Arbery was hit in the chest, his right lung, ribs, and sternum was injured. The two men wrestled on the gun. Gregory shouted: “Travis!” Arbery punched Travis. Behind the truck, Gregory dropped his cellphone. The second explosion came out of the frame. But we see gun smoke here. Arbery is bleeding profusely. He throws another punch. Travis fired the last shot, which struck Arbery in the upper left chest. Travis walked away holding his gun. Gregory got out of the truck holding the .357 Magnum. According to police reports, Gregory toppled Arbery to see if he had a weapon. He did not do it. Police officers arrived within seconds of the shooting, and about one minute later at 1:16 pm, Police Officer R. Minshew reported: Two subjects on Holmes Road. Shot. Men on the ground bleed out. The police took Gregory McMichael’s testimony and let the two go. But now McMichaels both faces serious charges. Hi, this is Malachy and I report this story. For transparency, a note about the security footage used in this video, which was first published by The Atlanta Journal Constitution. The time code you see here is wrong. We know this because we line up what we see in this video with what we hear in two 911 calls and we confirm the time of the call. These police details and records also allow us to determine that Gregory McMichael called 911 from his son’s telephone just before the fatal shooting. So in this video, we use the actual time the event occurred. Thank you for watching.
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