Judge John R. Turner on Tuesday refused to dismiss misconduct charges against a former Georgia prosecutor who is accused of hindering the investigation into the 2020 killing of Ahmaud Arbery. Turner's one-page ruling came 20 months after defense attorneys for former District Attorney Jackie Johnson filed a motion arguing the case against her should be scrapped for lack of evidence, the Associated Press reports.
Johnson was the top prosecutor for Glynn County in February 2020, when white men in pickup trucks chased and killed Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, running in their neighborhood. The fatal pursuit was initiated by Greg McMichael, a retired investigator who had worked for Johnson. His adult son, Travis McMichael, fired the shotgun blasts that left Arbery dead in the street. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase and recorded cellphone video of the killing. Two months later, when Bryan's video was leaked, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation stepped in and the McMichaels and Bryan were arrested on murder charges.
It's alleged that Johnson used her office to try to protect the McMichaels and told Glynn County police officers the day of the shooting that they should not arrest Travis McMichael. In September 2021, a grand jury indicted Johnson in connection with Arbery’s death, charging her with a felony count of violating her oath of office and with hindering a law enforcement investigation, a misdemeanor. Johnson denies wrongdoing, saying she immediately recused herself from the case involving Arbery’s death because Greg McMichael was a former employee.