(Reuters) - Three white men charged with the murder of an unarmed Black jogger in south Georgia are scheduled to face a judge on Friday morning in a case that spurred a national outcry after cellphone video of the shooting was leaked on the internet.
Ahmaud Arbery, 25, who was killed on Feb. 23 just outside the coastal town of Brunswick, became a touchstone in cross-country protests over racial and social justice in the United States.
Arbery’s name has been proclaimed in chants and protest signs in demonstrations along with that of George Floyd, a Black man who was pinned to the ground by a white police officer in Minneapolis before he died on May 25.
In the Georgia case, the three accused men were not charged for more than two months after Arbery was shot to death while jogging. State investigators were called to look at the case after cellphone video of the slaying was posted on social media.
Former police officer Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, are charged with murder and aggravated assault.
Their neighbor who took the cellphone video, William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., 50, was charged with murder and attempt to illegally detain and confine.
Police say Gregory McMichael saw Arbery running through his neighborhood outside of Brunswick and believed he looked like a burglary suspect. The elder McMichael called his son and the two armed themselves and drove after Arbery.
Bryan joined the chase in his own vehicle, police say, and took video of the incident on his phone, which appears to show the McMichaels confronting Arbery before Arbery was shot with a shotgun.
The accused will face Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley.
All three men will be arraigned, with several legal motions pending from the defendants’ lawyers. Bryan will also face a ruling on whether he can be released on bond.
Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney