From the beginning of the Ahmaud Arbery shooting saga it was clear that the only reason the story drew national attention (and outrage) was the release of a cellphone video of the shooting to the local press. It then went viral in the national media, leading us to where we are today, with both Greg and Travis McMichael under arrest and both state and federal prosecutors looking into the matter. But how did that seemingly incriminating video make it into the hands of a local radio station to begin with?
I believe that many of us assumed that the driver of the trailing car must have shared it on social media, leading to the video angering someone who then anonymously sent it to attorney Alan Tucker (who had done some work for the McMicaels) who then sent it to reporters. But according to a statement made by the elder McMichael’s attorney on Friday, it was none other than Greg McMichael himself who asked for the video to be leaked. Let’s look at the report from the NY Post while we all pick our jaws up off the floor.
Viral video of the shooting of unarmed Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery was first leaked to the press at the request of the dad now accused of his murder — because he thought it would make him and his son look better.
The ironic shocker — that it was ex-cop Gregory McMichael who leaked the very video that would expose the Arbery shooting to the world, leading to father-son murder charges — was reported Friday by WSB-TV in Atlanta…
The stunning plot twist was revealed Friday by Alan Tucker, a Brunswick attorney who had informally consulted with the suspects, and who was previously known to have been the source of the video.
Tucker has been the source of much of what we know about the shooting thus far. He’s the one who previously asked everyone to hold off on their judgment until all the facts have been presented. (Always a good idea, to be sure.)
But what was Greg McMichael thinking, assuming this story is true? At the time of the leak, the McMichaels appeared to be nearly in the clear. The local cops, prosecutors and DA’s office were all going along with their version of events and not recommending any arrests be made. There were people in the community who were angry, but without any further evidence is was another “he said, he said” story with one of the people in question being unavailable for comment by virtue of being dead. So that’s when Greg McMichael decided to tell his attorney friend to send the video to the media?
The elder McMichael reportedly told Tucker that he thought releasing the video “would ease racial tensions in… Satilla Shores.” Tucker agreed, saying that he didn’t want their neighborhood to “turn into Ferguson.”
As the analysis from the Post somewhat dryly points out, that strategy “backfired monumentally.” It’s a good thing that Tucker wasn’t officially working as the McMichaels’ attorney at that time or he’d probably be facing a lawsuit over incompetence. But I am going to take one part of Tucker’s message to heart. No matter how obvious the damning video may make things look, at this point, we should just wait for the investigation to conclude and the trial to begin, assuming there will be one. I find it impossible to imagine what other evidence might be lurking out there that would significantly change the narrative, but who knows? Anything is possible.
Of course, as I’ve pointed out here before, even if there is a trial, it doesn’t mean there will be any convictions. The case has been transferred to a District Attorney from Atlanta, but it appears that the venue hasn’t changed so she will still have to go to trial in the McMichaels’ home county. And any attorney who stayed awake for at least half of their classes in law school should be able to identify at least a couple of jurors during voir dire who will somehow find a reason to acquit.