English, who doesn’t routinely open text messages, didn’t see the text from Officer Rash until Saturday, his attorney Elizabeth Graddy told local news station News 4 JAX in a statement. She said when she saw the text she “immediately understood that an organization had been developing in that neighborhood at least since December.”
“It appears that Gregory McMichael had been informally ‘deputized’ by the Glynn County Police Department,” Graddy said in the statement. It’s unclear why police reportedly gave Gregory McMichael that power, but the next text message in the thread with English was surveillance footage from inside his home on February 11. On that day, Travis McMichael reportedly came face-to-face with the man TMZ later identified as Arbery.
“McMichaels said as he drove down Satilla Drive he observed the unknown male cut accros the property of 218 Satilla Drive and enter onto the property of 220 Satilla Drive,” a Glynn County police officer said in a report Daily Kos obtained. “McMichael said as he turned around and returned to the property, he observed the unknown male run back through the open house under construction toward the area of the back yard. McMichael watched the front of the property until Officers arrived on scene.” With no signs of Arbery by the time police arrived, the investigating officer called English to give an update.
English reportedly told the cop his security cameras showed the man repeatedly going on his property. “Once again English stated it appears the unknown male is only trespassing and plundering around as he has yet to see where anything has been taken,” the officer said in the incident report. “Several Officers canvassed the neighborhood looking for the unknown male, but negative contact was made.”
Graddy said in a statement CBS obtained that, "this young man may have been coming onto the property for water.” “There is a water source at the dock behind the house as well as a source near the front," Graddy added.
The McMichaels apparently assumed Arbery was doing much more than drinking water because when the elder McMichael spotted Arbery “hauling ass” in the same area of the home under construction, the former cop went home, grabbed his .357 Magnum, and called for his son armed with a shotgun, according to another incident report Daily Kos obtained. The McMichaels said in the report they grabbed firearms because they "didn't know if the male was armed or not."
"McMichael stated, 'the other night' they saw the same male and he stuck his hand down his pants which lead them to believe the male was armed," an officer said in the incident report. So when Gregory McMichael again spotted Arbery, the former cop and his son got into a pickup truck on an armed search, according to the incident report.
They spotted Arbery running down Burford Drive and first tried to cut him off in the truck, but Arbery only changed directions, Gregory McMichael told police. He said that's when William “Roddie” Bryan, an area resident who recorded the controversial shooting footage, also tried unsuccessfully to block Arbery. McMichael told police he then jumped into the bed of the truck, and Travis kept driving.
"Stop, stop we want to talk to you," Gregory McMichael reportedly yelled at Arbery. The accused murderer told police he then pulled up beside Arbery and again shouted for him to stop. Travis got out of the truck with the shotgun and the man later identified as Arbery “began to violently attack Travis”, Gregory told police. The two men “then started fighting over the shotgun at which point Travis fired a shot and then a second later there was a second shot,” the reporting officer said in the incident report. “McMichael stated the male fell face down on the pavement with his hand under his body.” Gregory rolled Arbery over to see if he had a weapon, according to the report.
He didn’t, according to his family’s attorney. Protestors have since called for justice in the case, attracting national media attention. On the site of a tribute to the 25-year-old former high school football standout, an unnamed person unconnected to the case left a note expressing condolences for Arbery’s death. "Ahmaud - I am so sorry," the person said in the note. “I should have stopped them. I am so sorry.”
Robert Rubin, Travis McMichael's attorney, however, said it’s his client he is sad for during a Thursday news conference. "People who know better to engage in stereotyping are rushing to judgment, are stereotyping, and that saddens me," he said.
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