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Georgia Asks DOJ For Probe Into Handling Of Ahmaud Arbery Case

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The attorney general of the state of Georgia has asked the U.S. Justice Department to look into the investigation of the death of an unarmed black man named Ahmaud Arbery. In February, Arbery was jogging near the city of Brunswick when he was confronted by two white men, a father and a son who were armed. There was a confrontation, and Arbery was shot dead. Here's Georgia Public Broadcasting's Emily Jones with the story.

EMILY JONES, BYLINE: No arrests were made in Arbery's killing until last week, more than two months later, even though authorities knew all along who shot Arbery. It was in the police report filed on the day of the shooting. Now Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has asked the Justice Department to find out why. Carr says he's committed to a complete and transparent review about how the investigation was handled from the outset. Chris Stewart is a lawyer for Arbery's family.

CHRIS STEWART: That's a phenomenal move. It shows that the attorney general and the governor are very concerned.

JONES: One of the suspects worked in the Brunswick district attorney's office, so that DA recused herself. The second DA in nearby Waycross also removed himself at the family's request because his son also works in the Brunswick DA's office. But Carr says that DA, George Barnhill, failed to share several key facts. Carr says Barnhill began working on the case and advising police before the state asked him to step in. And when he removed himself, he told police no arrests should be made. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over last week and within two days made a pair of arrests. Stewart says the attorney general's statement confirms his suspicions about the prosecutors involved.

STEWART: Georgia can't have district attorneys that are taking the law into their own hands. That affects people no matter what color you are, black or white.

JONES: Stewart says both the Brunswick and Waycross DA's should be removed from office. He's calling for a special prosecutor to take over the case. For NPR News, I'm Emily Jones in Savannah.

(SOUNDBITE OF TAYLOR MCFERRIN'S "DEGREES OF LIGHT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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