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Responding Officer Testifies That He Found Ahmaud Arbery Face Down In A Pool Of Blood, Making A 'Death Rattle'
Graphic images from the scene showing Ahmaud Arbery's injuries were shown in court as the trial of Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. continues.
When a Glynn County police officer arrived in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia on Feb. 23, 2020, he found Ahmaud Arbery laying on his stomach in a pool of blood making what he described in court as a “death rattle.”
Just seconds before he arrived at the scene, former Glynn County officer Ricky Minshew testified at trial that he heard “two loud pop sounds” then arrived to find Arbery, 25, laying in the middle of the street, Fox News reports.
“I heard agonal breathing, like a death rattle,” he said of the sound someone makes when their brain is no longer getting the necessary oxygen.
Minshew testified that he had been dispatched to the area after receiving a report of a suspicious person in the neighborhood and arrived to find the bloody scene, along with Greg McMichael, 67, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., 52.
Prosecutors have alleged the father and son chased Arbery in their pickup truck while he was out jogging, then gunned him down in the middle of the street as Bryan—who was riding in a separate truck—filmed the shocking death.
Minshew testified that after seeing Arbery face down in a pool of blood, he radioed for emergency medical responders, but did not provide him any medical assistance himself.
“Without having any other police units to have my back, there was no way I could switch to do anything medical and still watch after my own safety,” he said, according to The Associated Press.
William Duggan, the second officer to arrive at the scene, testified on Friday that he had rolled Arbery over and tried to put pressure on his chest wound, but said in his body camera video that there “was nothing I could do” and he died at the scene.
Jurors viewed graphic photos of Arbery’s injuries and his bloody body lying in the street as Glynn County Police Sgt. Sheila Ramos took the stand to walk jurors through the dozens of crime scene photos she took for nearly an hour after the shooting. The images included close ups of the gunshot wounds to Arbery’s chest, wrist and underneath one of his arms.
The images made some jurors visibly uncomfortable. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, remained in the courtroom and could be heard letting out an audible exhale, CNN reports. Arbery’s father walked out of the courtroom before the graphic photos of his son’s death were shown.
Defense attorneys have argued that the McMichaels were trying to stop Arbery to make a citizen’s arrest after they spotted him inside a nearby home that was under construction and believed he may have been responsible for a series of burglaries.
They said that Travis McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense after Arbery began to attack him and tried to grab his shotgun.
Minshew testified that he spoke with Bryan shortly after the shooting, but he never said anything about the men trying to make a citizen’s arrest.
“So, you’re a passerby coming through?” Minshew asked him, according to transcript from his body cam video he read in court.
“Not necessarily,” Bryan responded.
He told the former officer that while they were chasing the 25-year-old he had used his truck to block Arbery “five times.”
“Should I have been chasing him? I don’t know,” Bryan told Minshew, according to CNN.
During the chase, Bryan told Minshew that Arbery had “tried to get in my door.”
“When I rounded the corner out there, it was almost like the Black guy was tired of running,” he said.
For months no arrests were made in the case until the disturbing video showing Arbery being gunned down was leaked online. As public outcry grew, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case, arresting all three men for murder a short time later.
They are also facing charges of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski has argued that the three defendants cornered Arbery and killed him without any evidence he had been committing any crime.
“In this case, all three of these defendants did everything they did based on assumptions,” she said. “Not on facts, not on evidence—on assumptions.”
Nothing was found in Arbery’s pockets after he died, including any keys, cellphone, ID or wallet, investigators testified.
Travis’ defense attorney, Bob Rubin, told jurors, however, that the evidence “overwhelmingly” shows his client was trying to lawfully stop Arbery to make a citizen’s arrest and only killed him in self-defense.