Former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson was indicted for violating her oath of office and hindering a law enforcement officer.
Johnson used to work with suspect Greg McMichael, then an investigator in her office. He called the then-DA soon after he chased down Arbery, 25, in a pickup truck while his son Travis McMichael shot the victim dead in the coastal town of Brunswick, prosecutors said.
“Jackie, this is Greg,” the suspect said, according to a recording of the call presented to a grand jury. “Could you call me as soon as you possibly can? My son and I have been involved in a shooting and I need some advice right away.”
The court heard that Johnson did not call him back that day, but she allegedly showed “favor and affection” towards him and told cops that Travis should not be arrested.
The McMichael’s allegedly trailed Arbery for four minutes while a neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, followed behind taking cell phone footage which showed Travis shooting the victim at close range with a shotgun.
The McMichaels’ maintained that Arbery was a burglar who attacked Travis, but investigators found no evidence the jogger committed a crime. They said the alleged killer called the victim a “f–king n—-r” after the murder and often used racial slurs online and in text messages.
The McMichaels and Bryan remained free for months after the case until the cellphone footage finally emerged and Gov. Brian Kemp kicked the case up to state investigators amid a public outcry.
Thursday’s indictment came after Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr called for an investigation into local prosecutors, including Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill, who has not been charged.
Johnson called Barnhill for advice on how to handle the shooting, and he later said “that he did not see grounds for the arrest of any of the individuals involved in Mr. Arbery’s death,” according to officials.
“It appears their intent was to stop and hold this criminal suspect until law enforcement arrived. Under Georgia Law this is perfectly legal,” Barnhill said in a letter to local police.
The Civil War-era law was later repealed amid a public outcry of local officials’ handling of the hate crime. Johnson was voted out of office following the controversy.
Wanda Cooper Jones, the mother of the victim, shared her reaction on Facebook Thursday.
“Former DA Jackie Johnson….Indicted!!! JusticeForMyBaby!!!!,” the grieving mom wrote.
With AP wires