Yesterday, we learned via Allahpundit that a longer version of the video of the Ahmaud Arbery shooting exists and it really doesn’t paint the McMichaels in a better light than the original did. But that wasn’t the end of the story. It turns out that Arbery shows up on video at least one other time. This one is from Glynn County Police body camera footage. The incident covered in this 2017 video takes place in a local park where Arbery is sitting in his parked vehicle when a police officer arrives to question him. Things go downhill from there quickly. (Associated Press)
A video released Monday shows police in Georgia attempting to search Ahmaud Arbery’s parked car in 2017 and when he refuses to let them and begins to walk back to the vehicle an officer tries to tase him.
The video, first obtained by The Guardian, shows Arbery refusing Glynn County police when they ask to search his Toyota and as he walks toward his vehicle he is told “don’t reach the car” and “keep your hands out your pockets.” The officer then pulls the taser and attempts to use it but it malfunctions and Arbery is told to get down on the ground, which he does.
When Arbery questions why the cops are bothering him he was told that the area is known for drugs, a suggestion that agitates Arbery who said he is not on drugs and to check his “s—-!”
The video was released by the Guardian, where you will find a longer writeup of the events in question. I’ll warn any of our easily offended readers in advance that there is quite a bit of “colorful” language in this clip, both from Arbery and one of the officers.
I’m not sure what this video brings to the table in terms of Arbery’s shooting in February. This encounter took place roughly three years ago and neither of the Glynn County Police officers who engaged with Arbery, Michael Kanago and David Haney, seem to have been involved in this year’s investigation. But the behavior of both Arbery and the cops at least give us a bit of a look into what was clearly an uneasy relationship between Ahmaud Arbery and local law enforcement.
The first thing to note is that Arbery was supposedly sitting in his parked car when the police rolled up, but they aren’t on a road. The car is parked on the grass near some railroad tracks in the park. We learn later that Arbery’s license was suspended so he wound up having to leave the vehicle there and depart on foot, but that’s not exactly a serious criminal offense.
The first officer on the scene, Kanago, starts off acting professionally, for the most part, speaking in a calm voice. Arbery is also relatively calm in the beginning. He explains that he’s just “rapping in the park” on his one day off per week from his job at a local truck wash. Kanago asks Arbery for his ID, which he retrieves from the car without incident. It’s really tough to see any probable cause at this point for further action aside from the fact that Arbery has a suspended license. But that’s when the tension begins to rise and tempers flare.
After running Arbery’s plate number the video cuts back to Arbery growing agitated (perhaps understandably) and asking Kanago why the officer is “f***ing with him.” Kanago explains that he’s “f***ing with him” because “this area is known for drug activity.” At no point in the entire video is it suggested that he was involved in any sort of drug dealing. But by now, Arbery is swinging his arms around and swearing while complaining about the cop hassling him.
At this point, there’s another cut in the film so we don’t know what transpired, but the next scene shows Kanago ordering Arbery to turn around and put his hands on the trunk of his vehicle so he can “check” him for weapons. Arbery complies, though he complains that Kanago has no reason to search him. Strangely, Kanago insists he’s not “searching” him, but is “checking him” for weapons. It’s obviously a search, but we can again ask what the probable cause was to escalate the encounter at that point.
Arbery is found to not have any weapons or other problematic possessions. At this point, Kanago announces that Arbery doesn’t have any warrants. How that’s not the end of the encounter is something of a mystery, but Kanago informs Arbery that he’s “making me kind of nervous” by “coming up on me.”
There’s another gap in the video and when it resumes, Kanago has obviously asked Arbery if he can search his car. Arbery refuses. But this is when Officer Haney shows up and things really escalate. Haney almost immediately pulls out his taser Arbery appears ready to get back into his car but both officers tell him not to reach for the car and to keep his hands out of his pockets. Haney is shouting the instructions while Kanago still sounds a bit calmer. After yelling at him twice, even though Arbery is complying with the instructions, Haney attempts to fire the taser at Arbery and you can hear it buzzing and clicking. The weapon malfunctions and Haney then orders Arbery to kneel down on the ground.
There’s another frustrating gap in the video after that. When it resumes, Arbery has been allowed to leave on foot. A third officer has arrived and they discuss the fact that Haney had tried to tase Arbery. That’s all we see. But when the cops later filed a police report about the incident, they claimed that the car smelled of marijuana and they saw a “bag with a leafy substance” in it inside the vehicle. How is it that the drug angle was never mentioned during the entire encounter? Although I suppose it could have taken place during one of the times when Kanago shut off his body camera. So did they really find marijuana in Arbery’s car or did they “find” marijuana in his car? (I think you know what I mean.)
Arbery clearly had an uncomfortable relationship with the local police. But this encounter definitely seems like a case where he wasn’t really doing much of anything and wound up drawing a very confrontational response from the cops when they encountered him. Maybe the cops had some legitimate reason to believe that Arbery was up to no good. Maybe Arbery had a very good reason to be afraid of the local law enforcement because of how he’d been treated by them in the past. We’re left with little more than speculation because there is so much about his history that remains unknown.