what the defense argues for

Travis and Greg McMichael said they armed themselves and set off after Ahmaud Arbery because they thought he was a burglar and they wanted to catch him and hold him until police arrived.

When the 25-year-old black man turned around and fought during the chase, they said Travis McMichael shot him in self-defense.

It maintains the defense in the trial against three white men accused of killing Arbery, who was shot three times in February 2020 near Brunswick on the coast of Georgia. McMichaels, a father and son, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan are charged with murder and other crimes.

The defense strategy depends on the arrest and self-defense laws of the citizens of Georgia.


Greg McMichael, 65, told police he saw Arbery “drag ass” past his house and thought he had committed burglary nearby. McMichael ran in, grabbed a gun, and shouted at his son, who came out with a shotgun.

The two men jumped into a pickup and pursued Arbery through their subdivision. Arbery was on foot.

When he saw the chase going, Bryan climbed into his own pickup and recorded video on his cell phone as he participated in the chase.

Bryan, 52, told an investigator he used his truck several times to block Arbery and get him off the road. Greg McMichael told police he was shouting at Arbery to stop.

Finally, Bryan’s video shows Greg McMichael in bed on his pickup with a handgun and Travis McMichael, 35, outside the truck with a shotgun.

Defense attorneys say Arbery threw himself at Travis McMichael and his gun, and that was when Travis McMichael shot him.


Greg McMichael told a police officer that they were chasing Arbery to prevent him from leaving the subdivision. He said they would “hold him” until police could “come and you know, check him out.”

A state law at the time said: “A private person may arrest a perpetrator if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. If the offense is a crime and the perpetrator flees or attempts to escape, a private person may arrest him on reasonable and probable cause for suspicion. “

The actual words “citizen arrest” did not appear in the statute, and there was no obligation for a person attempting to detain anyone to declare that intent. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law that mostly repealed the law in May.

Arbery had appeared several times on security video inside a house under construction near McMichaels’ house.

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