Former Prosecutor Indicted on Accusations She Mishandled Ahmaud Arbery Case

Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot after being confronted by three white men while he was jogging

jackie johnson
Jackie Johnson. Photo: AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Phil Skinner

A former Georgia prosecutor has been indicted on accusations she mishandled the investigation into the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger whose 2020 killing sparked outrage after it was seen on cell phone footage.

The prosecutor, Jackie Johnson, a former district attorney in Glynn County, allegedly obstructed police officers from arresting one of the suspects and showed "favor" to another suspect, according to an indictment. Johnson was the first of four prosecutors to be in charge of the case, which is now in the hands of a prosecutor from Cobb County.

Arbery, 25, was chased and confronted by three white men while jogging in their neighborhood in Brunswick, Ga., on Feb. 23, 2020. The suspects — Travis McMichael; Travis's father, Gregory McMichael; and William "Roddie" Bryan — have been charged with murder and other state charges as well as federal hate crimes.

Travis McMichael, who is accused of firing the shots that killed Arbery, was accused in Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Richard Dial's testimony in a prior hearing of yelling a racial slur at Arbery after shooting him. Prosecutors also alleged he used racial slurs previously in text messages and on social media.

Ahmaud Arbery
Ahmaud Arbery.

The defendants accused of Arbery's murder have pleaded not guilty to all charges. The McMichaels' have claimed they thought Arbery was a burglar.

According to the indictment against Johnson, on the day of the killing, Johnson allegedly "did knowingly and willfully hinder" two police officers "by directing that Travis McMichael should not be placed under arrest."

Greg McMichael was a retired police officer who had worked for Johnson as an investigator, and the indictment accuses Johnson of "showing favor and affection to Greg McMichael during the investigation."

Johnson ultimately recused herself from the case, citing her past working relationship with Greg McMichael. Prior to doing so, according to the indictment, she allegedly sought the assistance of another prosecutor and then recommended to the Georgia Attorney General's Office that he handle the case.

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However, the indictment alleges that she failed to disclose that she had sought assistance of the other prosecutor before recommending him, and in so doing failed "to treat Ahmaud Arbery and his family fairly and with dignity."

Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael
Travis McMichael, at left, and his father Greg McMichael in their booking photos. Glynn County Detention Center/AP/Shutterstock
Willian "Roddie" Bryan Jr.
Willian "Roddie" Bryan Jr. Glynn County Sheriff's Office/AP/Shutterstock

Arbery's killing was captured on video by Bryan and was ruled a homicide by the GBI, according to a copy of the autopsy report previously obtained by PEOPLE.

The report stated he was shot three times and "died of multiple shotgun wounds sustained during a struggle for the shotgun."

The indictment against Johnson was handed down by a Glynn County grand jury after being presented by Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr.

PEOPLE was not able to immediately reach Johnson for comment, and it was not immediately clear if she has an attorney to comment on her behalf.

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