Ex-Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson indicted in handling of Arbury Case
After State prosecutors alleged that former Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson used her position to delay arrests of three White men who chased and killed 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery last year, a grand jury returned an indictment against Johnson on counts of obstruction and violations of oath by a public officer.
The indictment claims that Johnson violated her oath by “showing favor and affection” to Greg McMichael and “failing to treat Ahmaud Arbery and his family fairly and with dignity.” It also says she obstructed police by “directing that Travis McMichael should not be placed under arrest.”
Johnson turned herself in to the Glynn County Sheriff’s office and was released on a $10,000 bond from the Glynn County Detention Center.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr sought the indictment after requesting an investigation of possible misconduct by local prosecutors who failed to bring charges in the killing. Johnson has insisted she did nothing wrong, saying she immediately recused her office from handling the case because Greg McMichael had been an employee.
When Arbery was fatally shot in 2020, Johnson was Glynn County’s top prosecutor. One of the armed men who pursued Arbery had previously worked for Johnson as an investigator.
On Feb. 23, 2020, after they spotted Arbery running in their neighborhood just outside the port city of Brunswick, father and son duo, Greg and Travis McMichael, armed themselves with guns and chased down Arbery in a pickup truck. Neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan joined McMichael’s in the chase and took cellphone video of Travis McMichael fatally shooting Arbery at close range with a shotgun as Arbery fought back with his fists.
At the time of the incident, the McMichael’s told police they thought Arbery was a burglar and that Travis McMichael shot him in self-defense. No arrests were made in the shooting that day. After the cell phone video leaked online two months later, it sparked a national outcry, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case.
The McMichael’s and Bryan remain in jailed on murder charges as they await trial next month.
Arbery’s parents and their attorneys have long accused the ex-district attorney of wrongdoing by trying to help the young man’s killers avoid prosecution.
If convicted of violating her oath of office, Johnson could face one to five years in prison. The obstruction charge is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison.