Joe Biden Says Ahmaud Arbery Was 'Killed in Cold Blood,' Family 'Deserve Justice... Now'

Joe Biden has joined the growing number of people calling for justice in the case of Ahmaud Arbery, the black man who was shot after being pursued by white men while jogging in Georgia.

The presidential hopeful was responding to the news that Georgia district attorney Tom Durden is to ask a grand jury to decide if charges should be brought forward after video of Arbery's killing emerged.

Arbery, 25, was killed in a neighborhood just outside Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23. The video, which was posted on social media on Tuesday, shows Arbery running down a residential street when a white pickup truck pulls up in front of him.

The footage, filmed by a person in another vehicle from behind, then shows one man get out of the driver's side door and confront Arbery while armed with a shotgun.

Gunshots can be heard while the pair appear to wrestle for the gun, with a second man getting out of the back of the truck also armed with a firearm.

Arbery then collapses face down onto the road as the clip ends.

The men in the footage have been identified as former law enforcement officer Gregory McMichael, 64, and his 34-year-old son, Travis. Neither man was arrested in connection to the shooting.

“The series of events captured in this video confirm what all the evidence indicated prior to its release— Ahmaud Arbery was pursued by three white men that targeted him solely because of his race and murdered him without justification. This is murder.”

— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) May 5, 2020

"The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood," Biden tweeted. "My heart goes out to his family, who deserve justice and deserve it now. It is time for a swift, full, and transparent investigation into his murder."

According to a police report, obtained by The New York Times, the father and son believed Arbery matched the description of a suspect alleged to have been involved in several break-ins in the local area.

The elder McMichael reported seeing Arbery "hauling ass" down the street from his front yard and went inside the home to tell his son. The pair then picked up a .357 magnum and a shotgun and began pursuing Arbery.

Gregory McMichael told police they picked up the weapons as he saw the same man a previous night with his hands down his pants, which led him to believe he could be armed.

The police report stated that when they pulled up beside Arbery in the truck, McMichael Sr. shouted "stop stop, we want to talk to you" before his son got out of the vehicle with the shotgun.

The report says the man then began to "violently attack" Travis McMichael and the two men then started fighting over the shotgun, at which point Travis McMichael fired two shots.

According to The New York Times, one of the prosecutors previously assigned to the case, George E. Barnhill, advised the police that there was insufficient probable cause to arrest the McMichaels as their actions were legal under the state's citizen arrest, open carry and self-defense laws.

"Mr. Arbery had not committed any crime and there was no reason for these men to believe they had the right to stop him with weapons or to use deadly force in furtherance of their unlawful attempted stop," S. Lee Merritt, lawyer for Arbery's family, said in a statement. "This is murder."

Civil rights groups have also condemned the lack of arrests over the shooting. The ACLU of Georgia said that the unarmed Arbery was killed for being a black man "running through the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time."

"The vigilante behavior that we saw in Brunswick is unacceptable in a civilized society. We call on the officials in Brunswick to enforce the rule of law so that it can be safe for citizens to walk the streets," said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia.

"Ahmaud was killed three days before the anniversary of the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin. Both incidents are a reminder that white supremacy has been a foundation for our country and leads repeatedly to the targeting and harming people of color, particularly African Americans."

Georgia NAACP State President Rev. James Woodall added: "The fact that the McMichaels have yet to be arrested in this matter is evidence enough for what we all know to be true—justice for all is just not specific enough. We will continue to work with the family and community leaders to remove these two from their office and ensure justice is served."

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed that Durden has requested an investigation into the death. The state of Georgia has prohibited grand or trial juries until June 12 at the earliest.

The Glynn County Police Department has been contacted for comment.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden participates in the 11th Democratic Party 2020 presidential debate in a CNN Washington Bureau studio in Washington, DC on March 15, 2020 MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty