Audio Confirms 911 Calls Made About ‘Black Guy’ Running Before Ahmaud Arbery Killing

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Audio recordings of two 911 calls released by The Guardian on Thursday confirm previously reported transcripts and provide details about the shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man killed by two white men while jogging through a neighborhood in south Georgia.

Gruesome cell phone footage surfaced last week that showed Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, shooting Arbery after pursuing and confronting the man in the street. The pair was armed with a .357 magnum and a shotgun, and have not yet been charged in relation to Arbery’s killing.

The newly released audio confirms local reports, including transcripts, of dispatchers responding to callers reporting a man ― widely believed to have been Arbery ― running in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia.

In one clip from a call at 1:08 p.m., a man reports a “Black guy” he claimed he saw in a house under construction. When the dispatcher asks if the man broke into the home, the caller says no, and when the caller repeatedly says the man is running, the dispatcher makes multiple attempts to find out the reason for the call.

“I just need to know what he was doing wrong,” the dispatcher says at one point. Toward the end of the call, they agree to send someone to check on things as the phone reception begins to break up.

In another clip from a call minutes later, at 1:14, a man reports a “Black male running down the street” and is heard yelling for him to stop. As the dispatcher tries to refocus the caller’s attention, the caller yells, “Travis,” an apparent reference to Travis McMichael. The dispatcher continues to record the call for minutes after it appears the caller has disconnected unannounced.

Sean Rayford via Getty Images

A cross with flowers and a letter “A” sits at the entrance to the Satilla Shores neighborhood where Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed on May 6 in Brunswick, Georgia.

The New York Times reported Arbery was an avid runner, saying it was “not unusual to see him running around the outskirts of the small coastal Georgia city near where he lived.”

Much of the public outcry following the release of the video showing Arbery’s death has been centered around why the men seen shooting Arbery have not been charged.

Documents show Gregory McMichael was once a detective and county prosecutor in Georgia. Two prosecutors previously assigned to Arbery’s case have since resigned due to conflicts of interest. A third prosecutor, Tom Durden, said he believes the case should be presented before a grand jury in Glynn County, Georgia. 

Along with Lee Merritt, an attorney representing Ahmaud Arbery’s family, a number of public figures and politicians have referred to his killing as a lynching and, along with several others, demanded justice in the days since the video was publicized.

Massachusetts representative Ayanna Pressley (D) said in a tweet, “I’ve struggled for words to describe the pain my husband & I feel reading about the lynching of #AhmaudArbery,” and she called for “justice for his family now.” 

In another tweet, Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden said, “The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood.” 

“My heart goes out to his family, who deserve justice and deserve it now,” Biden added.

CORRECTION: This article previously suggested that the McMichaels shot Arbery with the shotgun and the pistol. To date, reports indicate only that they shot him with the shotgun.



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