Authorities were looking for Ahmaud Arbery to give him a trespass warning for repeatedly entering an under-construction home in Georgia before he was chased and shot dead by neighbors who saw him running from the property, a cop testified Friday.
Glynn County Police Officer Robert Rash told jurors he had been searching for the 25-year-old black man — who hadn’t yet been identified — to tell him to stay away from the home after repeated complaints from the homeowner.
The owner had sent the officer security camera videos of Arbery at the site five times between Oct. 25, 2019, and Feb. 23, 2020 — the day Arbery was killed after being pursued by the three white men currently on trial for his murder.
Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael had armed themselves and pursued Arbery in a truck after he ran past their home close to the construction site. Neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan joined the chase in his own truck and filmed the younger McMichael shooting Arbery at close range with a shotgun.
Rash, who was a patrol officer assigned to the neighborhood, testified that he had shared the video clips with neighbors, including Gregory McMichael.
He added that he’d also shared the elder McMichael’s phone number with the homeowner, Larry English, in a text message — noting Gregory was an ex-cop and retired investigator for the local district attorney.
Rash told jurors McMichael suggested letting English know he could help watch the property.
“Did you deputize Greg McMichael? Did you give him any authority as a police officer?” the prosecutor asked Rash.
“No, ma’am,” Rash said, adding he never intended for McMichael to do anything other than call police if he spotted Arbery at the property again.
Rash said he’d been planning to give Arbery a trespass warning, which is standard protocol for the misdemeanor offense in that state.
“Once we make contact with the person on the property, we explain to them the homeowner does not want them there, they have no legal reason to be there,” Rash said.
”I explain to that person, if you ever come back onto this property for any reason, you will be arrested.”
The footage of Arbery inside the vacant property was shown to jurors on Thursday, including the video that showed him there just minutes before he was shot.
The McMichaels have said they knew about the reports of an unknown black man roaming around English’s property when Arbery ran by their driveway and they started to pursue him.
All three men, who have pleaded not guilty to murder, claim they were trying to conduct a lawful citizen’s arrest of Arbery when Travis McMichael shot the jogger at close range minutes into the pursuit.
With Post wires