Not surprising. One of the striking things about the police report was how candid Greg McMichael was about the fact that this was a pursuit, featuring not one but two vehicles and at least two separate attempts to cut Arbery off in the street. Arbery didn’t chance upon them while he was running and stumble into a confrontation. They went after him, fully armed.
That’s how confident McMichael was that he and his son wouldn’t be punished for killing Arbery. He admitted the pursuit to the police.
The most defensible scenario for a citizen’s arrest is when a crime is committed right in front of the person making the arrest, to the point where they’re practically a part of it. I’ve used the example before of bank robbery: If the man in line in front of you pulls a gun on the teller and you jump him and hold him until the cops come, we don’t want you to suffer any criminal jeopardy for that. It’s not just because you’ve done a good deed by apprehending a dangerous person whom we know is guilty. It’s because that crime was thrust upon you. You were in danger. If you had run, you might have been shot. Instead you did what you could to protect yourself and the other people there. Looked at that way, a valid citizen’s arrest is a cousin of self-defense.
The McMichaels didn’t have any crime thrust upon them. They could have phoned the sheriff and never left their sofa. They sought this confrontation and were willing to engage in a car chase to make it happen.
Four minutes isn’t much, but set a timer right now and imagine having to spend that entire time running from two vehicles that are chasing you, probably without a clue as to what they want with you. That’s how long the full video of the chase lasts according to lawyer Lee Merritt.
Lawyer Lee Merritt confirmed Monday that the new video shows William Bryan, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, chasing the unarmed black man for several minutes in the quiet Satilla Shores neighborhood near Brunswick, Ga., before opening fire…
[William “Roddy”] Bryan has claimed he was being a good samaritan by filming Arbery’s death, though that description has come under heavy scrutiny.
“He is a liar,” Merritt argued, adding that Bryan had changed his story from telling the police he was trying to trap Arbery to now “launching a campaign to clear his name.”
“If he was a good Samaritan, he would have honked his horn. It’s worth noting that on the video, he doesn’t even flinch. He doesn’t gasp. Shot after shot. He simply takes it all in,” Merritt told Fox News.
It is indeed hard to square the “good samaritan” shtick with McMichael’s claim to the cops that Bryan “attempted to block” Arbery with his car.
Elsewhere today, the daughter of Greg McMichael and sister of Travis McMichael admitted that it was poor judgment on her part to, um, post a photo of Arbery’s bloody corpse to her Snapchat account, as if he was some deer that her father had bagged.
Lindsay, 30, said: “I had no nefarious or malicious intent when I posted that picture.
“The thing is I’m a huge fan of true crime – I listen to four or five podcasts a week – I’m constantly watching that sort of thing.
“It was more of a, ‘Holy s***, I can’t believe this has happened’.
“It was absolutely poor judgement.”
Merritt said Lindsay McMichael’s photo “fits in with the pattern of the McMichael family engaging in a weird, violent form of voyeurism,” referring to the strange but apparently true fact that the video of Arbery’s death was leaked at the behest of Greg McMichael, who thought it would help their defense.
Which is also part of a pattern. The entire McMichael family really, really doesn’t grasp that something went wrong here, do they? From Greg’s candor with the cops about the pursuit to the leaking of the clip to the daughter posting the photo of Arbery, they seem to be constantly showing horrendously bad judgment and yet constantly surprised that the rest of the world thinks they’ve done anything wrong.
Take six minutes to watch the Times’s reconstruction of the final 12 minutes or so of Arbery’s life. Pay particular attention at 3:23, when they begin describing the pursuit. I count no fewer than five times that Arbery tried to avoid a confrontation. First when he doubles back to avoid the McMichaels on Burford Road; then when he runs past Bryan’s car trying to cut him off on the same street; then when Arbery is cut off by Bryan on Holmes Road and doubles back again to avoid Bryan; then when he’s approaching the McMichaels’ parked truck on Holmes Road and veers left to try to avoid them, only to have Travis McMichael step out into the road towards him; and then when he veers right to run around the truck on the passenger side, only to have McMichael come around to the front of the truck to confront him. Four minutes of pursuit, five attempts to avoid any confrontation, and they killed him anyway.