May 10 (UPI) -- Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr requested the Department of Justice on Sunday investigate the homicide case of Ahmaud Arbery amid widespread anger over its handling.
Arbery, 25, was fatally shot Feb. 23 while jogging in a Brunswick neighborhood. Late last week, the Georgia Bureau of investigation arrested Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, and charged them with murder and aggravated assault.
The arrests followed a graphic video of the shooting made public on Tuesday showing the two armed men confronting Arbery.
Release of the cellphone video has prompted calls from civil rights groups, activists and members of the public for answers as to why it took more than two months for the men to be apprehended.
Carr said he has requested U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Bobby Christine to conduct the investigation.
"We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset," Carr said in a statement. "The family, the community and the state of Georgia deserve answers, and we will work with others in law enforcement at the state and federal level to find those answers."
Lawyers representing Arbery's family said they were "pleased" Carr had requested the investigation.
"There are far too many questions about how this case was handled and why it took 74 days for two of the killers to be arrested and charged in Mr. Arbery's death," S. Lee Merritt, Benjamin Crump and L. Chris Stewart, lawyers for Arbery's parents, said in a statement. "It is our hope that the DOJ will conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine how and why this case was so poorly handled."
The investigation, Carr said, will include probing the communications and discussions by and between two South Georgia district attorneys who have become embroiled in the case.
Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson recused herself from the case due to the elder McMichael having worked under her at the office until he retired last May. She has also denied allegations from two county commissioners who say she informed police not to perform arrests in the case.
Waycross Judicial Circuit DA George Barnhill also recused himself following requests for him to do so from the Arbery family as his son works in the Brunswick District Attorney's office.
Carr said in his statement that Barnhill's son had worked as a prosecutor in a prior case against Arbery and that the elder McMichael had "also served as an investigator on the same prosecution."
Barhill wrote in his letter that he had learned of his son's connection "about 3-4 weeks ago."
The recusal request, Carr said, "did not provide any reason for the delay in contacting the Office of the Attorney General to request the appointment of a new prosecutor since the discovery of those facts."
Barnhill also wrote that following viewing the video, he believed the two men were acting in self-defense when Arbery was killed and suggested no charges be laid. The elder McMichael had claimed that the shooting occurred as they suspected Arbery to have been the suspect behind a series of alleged break-ins in the area and attempted to apprehend him.
Last Tuesday, the Atlantic Circuit District Attorney requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conduct an investigation into Arbery's death and two days later the McMichaels were arrested.
On Friday, hundreds attended a rally outside the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick in support of Arbery and to call for justice.
Also on Sunday, police arrested 20-year-old Rashawn Smith and charged him with the dissemination of information relating to terrorist acts in connection to a Facebook post made the day after the rally that "contained a threat to future protests related to Ahmad Arbery," the GBI said in a statement.