Suspect Used Racial Slur as Arbery Lay Dying: Agent

Testimony links slaying to race for the first time in court
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2020 3:32 PM CDT
Updated Jun 4, 2020 3:50 PM CDT
McMichael Stood Over Arbery and Used Racial Slur: Testimony
Ahmaud Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery, center, walks away from the Glynn County Courthouse on Thursday during a recess in a preliminary hearing for three men accused in his son's death.   (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

A Georgia court heard Thursday that Travis McMichael used a racial epithet as he stood over a dying Ahmaud Arbery. The lead investigator in the case said William "Roddie" Bryan Jr., who videotaped the killing, described the scene to him, USA Today reports. McMichael and his father, Gregory, were arrested last month in the killing of Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was jogging near the town of Brunswick when he was attacked. Bryan also has been charged. All three are white. The video shows Travis McMichael shooting Arbery three times with a shotgun on Feb 23. McMichael then stood over Arbery as he lay in the street and called him a "f---ing n---er," the investigator said in a preliminary hearing Thursday. That was the first evidence suggesting that race played a role in the shooting, Hayley Mason, a CBS46 reporter, pointed out in a tweet.

Richard Dial, the investigator and a Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent, testified that the three men chased Arbery and hit him with a truck as he tried to get away, per CNN. "I believe Mr. Arbery was being pursued, and he ran till he couldn't run anymore," Dial said. Arbery then tried to fight "with his bare hands against the man with the shotgun." Bryan's lawyer has said he didn't join in the killing, but Dial said Bryan at one point during the chase yelled, "Do you got him?" to the McMichaels. Bryan then joined the chase, the investigator said. Gregory McMichael told police he thought Arbery was involved in burglaries in the area. None of the three men have entered pleas, but their lawyers have said they're innocent in the shooting death of Arbery. (Other investigations have been launched, Arbery's family says.)

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