Criminal defense attorney Alan Tucker claims he’s the person who recently leaked the graphic video that depicts the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old man who was pursued and killed in Glynn County, Georgia, back in late February, on the suspicion he was a suspect in a recent series of break-ins but whose family says was jogging at the time of his death.
Tucker told Georgia Public Broadcasting via email that he released the footage in the interest of transparency, saying that the case was becoming the subject of premature speculation, rumors, and “false narratives.”
“I love this community and have spent my career helping people in this community,” said Tucker. “My sole purpose in releasing the video was absolute transparency because my community was being ripped apart by erroneous accusations and assumptions.”
“It wasn’t two men with a Confederate flag in the back of a truck going down the road and shooting a jogger in the back,” Tucker told The New York Times in an interview on Friday, in an article published after the statement appeared in Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Since the video leaked, the case has drawn national attention and bipartisan calls for answers have only grown louder: Both presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump have made statements about the shooting.
But Tucker’s relationship with the suspects also appears complicated.
On Thursday, Tucker told First Coast News that he had not been formally retained as a lawyer for either Gregory McMichael, 64, or Travis McMichael, 34, the father and son who have since been charged in the shooting.
Tucker also told First Coast News in an interview this week that he advised Travis McMichael to “keep his mouth shut” when the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, which began investigating the case on Wednesday, asked him for a statement.
It’s not clear if these remarks were made during the same interview.
Furthermore, before being arrested, Gregory McMichael gave brief remarks to The Washington Post on Thursday, including an advisory to contact attorney Alan Tucker for further comment.
The Washington Post reported:
Reached by phone Thursday afternoon before he was arrested, Gregory McMichael said, “There are many, many facts out there that have not come to light.”
“This is all based on the video and newspaper story. All the stuff that led up to that still hasn’t been released,” he said.
Gregory McMichael refused to comment further because the case is under investigation and also declined to comment on behalf of his son, Travis. He referred questions to Tucker, who did not return an email requesting comment on the case.
In an article published on Friday, The New York Times reported that “Tucker declined to comment on his conversations with the McMichaels, citing attorney-client privilege.”
The New York Times reported:
“I’m not going to tell you what I told them or what they told me,” he said, using profanity to say that any conversations — had they occurred, he said — were none of the public’s business.
At times during the interview, a woman could be heard in the background whispering suggested answers to Mr. Tucker.
By Friday afternoon, Mr. Tucker said that it had been decided that he would not be retained as the lawyer for either of the McMichaels, and it was unclear who was representing them.
According to First Coast News, Tucker has said that police have had the footage of the shooting since the first day, and that Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael have been cooperating with the investigation.
Tucker has reportedly also made the following comment: “The guy who took the video is the one who saw Arbery coming out of the house and said ‘that’s him.’”
Gregory McMichael told police the day of the shooting that he recognized Arbery from surveillance video of break-ins. From a police report obtained by The New York Times:
McMichael stated there have been several Break-ins in the neighborhood and further the suspect was caught on surveillance video. McMichael stated he was in his front yard and saw the suspect from the break-ins “hauling ass” down Satilla Drive toward Burford Drive. McMichael stated he then ran inside his house and called to Travis (McMichael) and said “Travis the guy is running down the street lets go”. McMichael stated he went to his bedroom and grabbed his .357 Magnum and Travis grabbed his shotgun because they ” didn’t know if the male was armed or not”. McMichael stated, “the other night” they saw the same male and he stuck his hand down his pants which lead them to believe the male was armed
The Times reported that the video was recorded by Roddie Bryan, whose lawyer said he shared the video with police before sharing it with Tucker and “anybody” who “wanted a copy.” During a press conference on Friday morning, Vic Reynolds, the head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, told reporters that “to my knowledge,” the video that has been circulating in the media is “the same video” investigators have been studying.
While the police report obtained by The Times doesn’t explicitly mention anyone coming out of a house, Georgia Public Broadcasting reported on Friday that they had obtained two 9-1-1 calls from the day of the incident, including one call — from a person they’ve reported as Travis McMichael — in which a “guy in a house” is mentioned.
CALLER: There’s been break-ins out here. There’s a guy in a house right now. There’s a house under construction.
DISPATCHER: Do you have your address or the other — that house’s address?
CALLER: Uh, right at [omitted].
DISPATCHER: And you say someone’s breaking into it right now?
CALLER: No, it’s all open. It’s under construction and he’s running right now. There he goes right now.
DISPATCHER: OK. What is he doing?
CALLER: He’s running down the street.
DISPATCHER: Okay that’s fine I’ll get them out there. I just need to know what he was doing wrong. Was he just on the premises and not supposed to be?
CALLER: [Inaudible] and he’s been caught on the camera a bunch before at night. It’s kind of an ongoing thing out here.
According to an NBC News report from late April, Lee Merritt, an attorney for Arbery’s family, has said that it’s possible Arbery went through the frame of a house, which he emphasized did not constitute a crime or justify the shooting.
“That dwelling did not have doors or windows,” said Merritt. “Under the law in the state of Georgia, in order to commit a crime by entering someone’s dwelling, you have to break a seal, break a door, forcibly enter something that is otherwise locked.”
The other 9-1-1 call obtained by Georgia Public Broadcasting is from a person who the news agency reports as Gregory McMichael. During the recording, the caller can be heard giving a brief description of a suspect, his approximate location — although he says he “I don’t know what street we’re on” — and then shouting several things, including “stop!” and “Travis!”
It’s not clear if there are any other calls from that day. It also remains unclear at what point the 9-1-1 calls take place in relation to the moments in the video, which shows about thirty seconds of the altercation up to and including the fatal shooting.
In that video, Arbery appears to be running down a street in the direction of a white pickup truck. Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael can be seen waiting at the truck, armed. When Arbery approaches the truck, he goes around the passenger side, and a struggle begins at the front of the truck between him and Travis McMichael, who is holding a shotgun. Moments later, Arbery is dead.
Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael were charged with felony murder and aggravated assault on Thursday evening. No others have been charged, and the investigation remains ongoing.
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