The case of Ahmaud Arbery's death has reportedly led the FBI to investigate the police and prosecutors involved, according to a lawyer hired by Arbery's family. While speaking with TMZ, attorney Lee Merritt revealed that the family has met with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the matter. The Georgia officials involved face accusations of misconduct in their handling of the initial investigation.
Merritt also explained that the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia has informed Arbery's family that they are exploring options for both criminal and civil action against the individuals. Merritt also spoke about an alleged text message from police to a local homeowner telling him that he should contact Gregory McMichael, one of the men charged in Arbery's death, if there was any "action" at their residence. In Merritt's opinion, the local police seem to have "effectively deputized" McMichael, which could be an issue regarding legal responsibility in Arbery's death. However, it was McMichael's son, Travis, who fired the shots that killed Arbery.
Arbery was killed in February, while out on a jog, but video of his murder only recently went public. McMichael, 64, and 34-year-old son Travis were arrested and charged with both murder and aggravated assault. The men admitted to grabbing guns and chasing Arbery, as they claim they thought he was a suspect in a string of burglaries that had taken place in their neighborhood, according to CNN. The McMichael's claimed that Arbery attacked Travis, which prompted him to open fire. However, there have been debates as to whether the leaked footage actually confirms this claim. Notably, William Bryan, the man who filmed the footage, was also arrested. In a previous statement an attorney for Arbery's family claimed that Bryan "blocked Ahmaud with his truck and allowed two other men to ambush and kill him.
Prior to the FBI investigation, USA Today reported that Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr ordered Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson and Waycross District Attorney George Barnhill to be investigated. Both men previously recused themselves from the case. Carr said in a statement: "When a district attorney is unable to take on a case due to a conflict, our office must appoint another prosecutor to handle the case. Unfortunately, many questions and concerns have arisen regarding, among other things, the communications between and actions taken by the District Attorneys of the Brunswick and Waycross Circuits. As a result, we have requested the GBI to review in order to determine whether the process was undermined in any way."