Newly-released bodycam footage from the moments after black man Ahmaud Arbery was shot dead in Georgia shows shooter Travis McMichael covered in blood, pacing with his hands on his hips and even being comforted by police.
Travis McMichael told police ‘I just shot a man… last thing I’ve ever wanted to do in my life’ after firing the shot which killed the unarmed Arbery on February 23.
McMichael, who is accused of murder along with his father Gregory McMichael, told police there was ‘nothing else he could do’ after Arbery ‘came running’ at him – after the father and son had given chase to the black jogger.
The McMichaels deny the murder charges, saying they believed Arbery was a burglar and that they acted in self-defense. Prosecutors say Arbery was no criminal but merely out jogging and claim the McMichaels acted as illegal vigilantes.
The footage, filed with public court documents in the case, also shows police saying they ‘can only imagine’ Travis McMichael’s distress in the wake of the shooting.
Covered in blood: Travis McMichael in the moments after he shot Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man, in Georgia on February 23
Interview: The bodycam footage shows Travis McMichael giving his first explanation of the shooting, saying he and his father believed Arbery to be a burglar
Police began arriving almost immediately after Arbery was shot in coastal Glynn County, finding him lying face down in his own blood.
As the younger McMichael stood shaking his head, with his hands on his hips, one police officer told him: ‘If you need to move around, do what you need to do man, I can only imagine’.
‘I want it done right, because this doesn’t look good,’ McMichael says. ‘I mean, I just shot a man. Last thing I’ve ever wanted to do in my life.’
‘Trust me, I can truly understand that,’ the female officer replies. She later offered to fetch him water.
McMichael had blood all over his arms and a bruise on his face where he claimed that Arbery had punched him.
Offering his first explanation for the shooting, he claimed that there had been ‘break-ins’ including a gun theft at the McMichael home, indicating he had believed Arbery to be the burglar.
‘We ran out to stop him, to talk to him… he stopped me coming out of the truck, running at us,’ he said.
‘I told him to stop, stop, stop till he hit me, I had nothing to do, there’s nothing else I could do.’
The video also showed Gregory McMichael trying to console his son, telling him ‘it’s going to be OK’ and saying that ‘you had no choice’.
As the younger McMichael stood shaking his head, with his hands on his hips, one police officer told him: ‘If you need to move around, do what you need to do man, I can only imagine’
Gregory McMichael (center) and his son Travis (right) and their neighbor William Roderick Bryan (left) are facing murder charges, which they deny
Some of the arriving officers recognized McMichael senior, a retired investigator for the local district attorney.
The older McMichael told police that Arbery had attacked his son and ‘was trying to take the shotgun away from him.’
‘To be perfectly honest with you, if I could’ve got a shot at the guy, I’d have shot him myself,’ he told one officer.
McMichael senior also asked female officer what police were planning to do with his son. ‘Y’all aren’t putting him in cuffs are you?’ Gregory McMichael said.
‘No,’ the officer replied. ‘Why would he be in cuffs?’
The Glynn County officers dispatched to the shooting did not seem to question the McMichaels’ account that they were justified to kill Arbery.
In one video, an officer standing outside the crime-scene tape asks another: ‘Did he shoot him? A self-defense thing?’
‘That’s what it looks like,’ the other officer replies.
Cellphone video captured the moment the McMichaels confronted Arbery in the street. In the footage Travis is seen engaging in a physical fight with Arbery before shooting him
Gregory (left) and Travis (right) were denied bond after a hearing last month (pictured)
After the officers arrived, one put on rubber gloves and pressed a hand to Arbery’s chest wound, while someone says that the victim still appeared to be breathing.
‘I know. I’m going to try to do something for him,’ the officer replies. He stops after about two minutes and calls to tell dispatchers Arbery is dead.
More than two months passed before the McMichaels were charged in Arbery’s death, after cellphone video of the shooting became public and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police.
The video, which brought Arbery’s case to national attention at the height of the George Floyd protests, showed him trying to run around the McMichaels’ pickup truck before coming face-to-face with Travis holding a shotgun.
The video shows Arbery and McMichael grappling for the gun in between gunshots. Arbery staggers and falls after the third shot hits him at point-blank range.
That video was taken by William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, a neighbor who joined the chase and was also later charged with murder. The new body camera footage also shows Bryan’s first interview with police.
Like the McMichaels, Bryan has pleaded not guilty to murder says he believed Arbery was responsible for break-ins in their neighborhood.
It was later revealed that it was an open-framed house under construction that Arbery was seen entering, and an attorney for the owner later said nothing was stolen.
‘He obviously was up to something,’ Bryan told an officer at the time, while describing how he maneuvered his own truck to prevent Arbery from escaping.
‘Should we have been chasing him?’ Bryan said. ‘I don’t know.’
State investigators with the GBI arrested the McMichaels on murder charges the day after the agency began its own investigation in May.
A judge has denied bond for all three defendants, whose attorneys are appealing the decision to keep them jailed.