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Suspect 'cornered' Ahmaud Arbery before he was fatally shot, officer testifies

Suspect 'cornered' Ahmaud Arbery before he was fatally shot, officer testifies
Ahmaud Arbery (pictured), was fatally shot on February 23, 2020 after being chased by three White men while jogging near Brunswick, Georgia. Photo courtesy the Family of Ahmaud Arbery/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old Black jogger fatally shot in February of last year near Brunswick, Ga., was cornered beforehand, one of the first officers on scene testified Monday at the murder trial.

Former Glynn County Police Officer Ricky Minshew said he spoke with William "Roddie" Bryan, one of three White men charged with felony murder and other charges related to the Feb. 23, 2020, shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, in Glynn County, Ga., when he arrived on scene.

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Bryan told him he "blocked," "cornered" and "cut off" Arbery five times.

"Should I have been chasing him? I don't know," Bryan said, according to a transcript of Minshew's body camera video read in court.

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Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael have also been charged with felony murder.

Other charges each of the three men faces include malice murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

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Arbery, who was jogging in the Satilla Shores neighborhood near Brunswick, Ga., was fatally shot after Greg McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, confronted him with two firearms, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

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"During the encounter, Travis McMichael shot and killed Arbery," a GBI statement said.

Bryan, 50, who recorded the fatal shooting, was arrested in May 2020, along with Greg and Travis McMichael after video footage of the shooting surfaced online.

Video footage showed Arbery being boxed in by two pickup trucks driven by the defendants, before Travis McMichael appears to get out of his vehicle and shoot Arbery three times.

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The defense has argued that McMichael shot Arbery three times in self-defense as the McMichaels and Bryan were attempting to conduct a citizen's arrest of Arbery due to their suspicion he might have stolen something from a house under construction.

Minshew also testified he heard a noise he described as a "death rattle" coming from Arbery, and he called emergency responders, but he didn't attempt any lifesaving measures because he "did not have the adequate medical training," and his patrol car lacked medical supplies.

Arbery's mother told reporters she didn't understand why Minshew didn't render aid.

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"I understand he had to go and secure the crime scene but, at the same time, he had a guy laying the middle of the road in a pool of blood," she said.

Jurors also heard Monday from Investigator Sheila Ramos who said she took photos of the crime scene.

Prosecutors showed the photos to the jury as Ramos identified them, including Arbery's body lying in the street under a bloodstained sheet, closeups of his gaping gunshot wounds, blood stains on the pavement, the shotgun used to kill him in the grass and spent shotgun shells.

Ramos said Arbery's body had been moved by the time she arrived to provide first aid.

Attorneys gave their opening statements Friday, a couple days after seating a jury.

Monday marked the first full week of testimony.

The first witness in the trial, Glynn County police officer William Duggan testified Friday.

"The blood loss I saw at the scene, the lack of rise and fall I saw in his chest, there was nothing I could do for him," Duggan testified.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said in opening statements that defendants saw a Black man running and "assumed the worst," with "absolutely no immediate knowledge of any crime whatsoever."

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An attorney for Travis McMichael said the three defendants were worried about break-ins in the neighborhood and felt it was their duty to protect the area, CNN reported.

The jury consists of 11 White women, three White men, and one Black man, which prosecutors have taken issue with, but Judge Timothy Walmsley ruled there were valid reasons beyond race as to why the jurors were dismissed, according to another CNN report.

The city of Brunswick is 55.1% Black and 40% White, a city profile shows based on U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey estimates.

The death of Arbery, along with police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor last year fueled months of Black Lives Matter protests.

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