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Fake Facebook Account Sent Threats To Arbery Protesters

Georgia state investigators announced on Sunday that they have arrested a 20-year-old man suspected of creating a fake Facebook account and using it to post a ‘hoax’ threat against protesters angry over the killing of unarmed black man 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Sunday said state police arrested Rashawn Smith and charged him with dissemination of information relating to terroristic acts.

Smith allegedly created a fake Facebook page and used it to make threats against the protesters.

He was taken into custody in Midway, a town about 50 miles north of Brunswick.

Earlier in the day, the GBI said it had ‘been made aware of a Facebook post that contains a threat to future protests related to Ahmaud Arbery’.

It was not immediately clear if Smith has an attorney who could comment on the charge.

Hundreds of people gathered alongside some 300 bikers in Brunswick on Saturday to honor Arbery.

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The bikers were seen kneeling at the spot where Arbery was fatally shot on February 23 by two white men who claim they were making a citizen’s arrest as they suspected him of a neighborhood burglary.

Several of those in attendance near the Sidney Lanier Bridge wore face masks and t-shirts with the phrase ‘I run with Maud’ in tribute to Arbery.

On February 23, Arbery was jogging in his Satilla Shores neighborhood just outside of Brunswick when he was accosted by Travis and Greg McMichael.

The father and son had grabbed their guns and gotten into their trucks to follow Arbery when he ran past their home at around 1pm on that day. They suspected was a burglar and went to detain him.

When Arbery resisted, he got into a scuffle with Travis McMichael, who had gotten out of his truck with his weapon and approached the jogger.

Arbery was then shot during the scuffle. Local prosecutors initially declined to bring charges against the two men.

Video emerged on social media showing the fateful moment when Arbery was shot and killed.

After it went viral, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case. On Thursday, GBI officers arrested the McMichaels, who have since been charged with homicide and aggravated assault.

But the case has ignited outrage as local officials have been trying to explain why it took more than two months to charge the two men whose actions resulted in the death of an unarmed person.

The memorial ceremony on Saturday was held just a day after protesters gathered at the same site demanding justice for Arbery on what would have been his 26th birthday.

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Georgia’s attorney general on Sunday asked the Department of Justice to investigate the handling of Arbery’s killing.

‘We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset,’ Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement.

‘The family, the community and the state of Georgia deserve answers, and we will work with others in law enforcement at the state and federal level to find those answers.’

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, has said she thinks her 25-year-old son, a former high school football player, was just jogging in the neighborhood before he was killed.

On Saturday, the GBI confirmed that it has obtained other photos of video that might shed light on the case.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published footage from a surveillance camera at a Brunswick home near where Arbery was shot that shows someone who appears to be Arbery walking into a home under construction.

Arbery then came back out and ran down the street.

Someone else comes out across the street from the construction site, and then a vehicle drives off farther down the street, near where Travis McMichael lives.

Lawyers for Arbery’s family say the video bolsters their position that Arbery did nothing wrong, and shows he did not commit a felony.

Under Georgia law, someone who isn’t a sworn police officer can arrest and detain another person only if a felony is committed in the presence of the arresting citizen.

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‘Ahmaud´s actions at this empty home under construction were in no way a felony under Georgia law,’ the lawyers wrote in a social media post.

‘This video confirms that Mr. Arbery’s murder was not justified and the actions of the men who pursued him and ambushed him were unjustified.’

Georgia’s attorney general on Sunday asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the handling of the investigation into the killing of Arbery.

Arbery was killed on February 23 but no arrests were made until Thursday after national outrage over the case swelled last week when video surfaced that showed the shooting which was blasted as a ‘lynching’.

‘We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset,’ Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement.

‘The family, the community and the state of Georgia deserve answers, and we will work with others in law enforcement at the state and federal level to find those answers.’

Attorneys for Arbery’s mother and father applauded Carr for reaching out to federal officials.

‘We have requested the involvement of the DOJ since we first took this case,’ attorneys S. Lee Merritt, Benjamin Crump and L. Chris Stewart said in a statement.

‘There are far too many questions about how this case was handled and why it took 74 days for two of the killers to be arrested and charged in Mr. Arbery’s death.’

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Last week, a Justice Department spokesman said the FBI is assisting in the investigation and the DOJ would assist if a federal crime is uncovered.

It comes after it emerged the Georgia district attorney who recused himself from the case told investigators that the fatal shooting was a ‘justifiable homicide’ and that the father and son duo who killed Arbery should not be charged.

George Barnhill, Sr, the top prosecutor for the Waycross Judicial Circuit, told police in Glynn County on February 24 – the day after the shooting – that there was insufficient evidence to charge Travis McMichael, 34, and his 64-year-old father, former police officer Greg McMichael.

The Glynn County Police Department released a statement to The Brunswick News on Saturday saying Travis and Greg McMichael were brought in for questioning at around 3.30pm on February 23.

Just after 1pm on that day, Arbery, a 25-year-old former high school football player and avid runner, went out for a jog in his Satilla Shores neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia.

As Arbery ran past the McMichaels’ home, the two men grabbed two shotguns, got into their truck and followed him.

Video which surfaced in recent days showed Travis McMichael get out of the truck and accost Arbery while brandishing his weapon.

Arbery is then seen trying to fight off McMichael before collapsing to the ground after he had apparently been shot.

Barnhill had determined that there were no legal grounds to arrest and try the McMichaels since Georgia’s arrest and self-defense laws allow citizens to detain anyone suspected of committing a crime.

The Glynn County Police Department says that Barnhill, Sr recused himself from the case on April 6 – five days after receiving the results of the autopsy.

Barnhill’s recusal was also demanded by Arbery’s family because the district attorney’s son, George Barnhill, Jr, worked as an assistant district attorney in the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office.

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Before his retirement in 2019, Greg McMichaels worked as an investigator in that same office.

The McMichaels were arrested on Thursday after the case was turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

Earlier this week, two Glynn County commissioners said that the current Brunswick District Attorney, Jackie Johnson, also blocked police from arresting the McMichaels because she was friends with Gregory McMichael.

Officers investigating the scene of the fatal shooting on February 23 told Johnson’s office that they had cause to arrest the father and son at the time but the DA shut them down.

Gregory McMichael had worked as an investigator in her office until his retirement in 2019 causing Johnson to recuse herself from the case a few days after the shooting.

‘She shut them down to protect her friend McMichael,’ Glynn County Commissioner Allen Booker told The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

911 call captures moments leading up to Ahmaud Arbery killing

Story cited here.