Accused Gregory McMichael told a cop that Ahmaud Arbery was ‘trapped like a rat’ when he and his son, Travis McMichael, chased the black jogger, their murder trial heard today.
The former police officer described to Detective Sgt. Rod Nohilly the young black man’s tragic final moments while running through the predominantly white Satilla Shores neighborhood of the small coastal city of Brunswick, southern Georgia.
McMichael said: ‘He was trapped like a rat. I think he was wanting to flee and he realized that something, you know, he was not going to get away.’
The McMichael’s had grabbed guns and chased 25-year-old Arbery in their white pick-up truck because they believed the jogger might have been responsible for local break-ins, their defense has said.
Gregory McMichael, 65, has said he and Travis shouted for Arbery to stop. He told trial witness Detective Nohilly: ‘He was much faster than Travis would ever be.
‘He had opportunity to flee further you know. We had chased him around the neighborhood a bit but he wasn’t winded at all. I mean this guy was, he was in good shape.’
Gregory McMichael (left) allegedly told police that he, his son (right) and their neighbor had Ahmaud Arbery (pictured on the pavement) ‘trapped like a rat,’ noting that the jogger ‘knew he wasn’t going to get away’
McMichael’s comments were revealed during Detective Roderic Nohilly’s testimony in court on Wednesday (pictured)
The McMichaels began their pursuit after Arbery was spotted in a partially-constructed house on their street – which had been the subject of thefts and in which a black man had been there videoed before.
Arbery was inside the house for a short while before resuming his run in the direction of the McMichael home on the same street.
Gregory McMichael told Nohilly during an interview shortly after Arbery was shot dead by Travis: ‘When he came past my house. He met the description of the video I had seen being in there (the house).
‘White t-shirt, short pants plus he was hauling a**. And you know this, he was running like people don’t run normally. He wasn’t out for a Sunday jog. He was getting the hell out of there.
‘And there was no hesitation on his part when he came to Travis. I mean, I think he was, his intention was to grab that gun and probably shoot Travis. In my mind, that’s what I saw.
‘And with that in mind, if he had gotten that shotgun, and there was any separation between Travis and him I was the one to cap his **s.’
The transcript of the interview was read out at the racially-charged trial at Brunswick Superior Court.
Nohilly told the hearing that Gregory McMichael admitted he had never seen Arbery before, telling him: ‘No, no, I had never laid eyes on the guy… nobody in the neighborhood, nobody has a clue who he is.’
The detective also claimed McMichael said he ‘had never laid eyes’ on Arbery, 25, before he had ran past this driveway on February 23, 2020.
According to the transcript, the detective asked McMichael why he was chasing the victim: ‘Did this guy break into a house today?’
‘Well that’s just it, I don’t know,’ McMichael replied, according to the transcript.
Prior to that interview, McMichael had told officers on scene that he chased Arbery because he believed he was a criminal who had been recorded by security cameras breaking into houses in the Satilla Shores neighborhood.
Defense attorneys say the McMichaels and Bryan were legally justified in chasing and trying to detain Arbery because they reasonably thought he was a burglar.
Gregory McMichael told police Travis McMichael fired in self-defense after Arbery attacked with his fists and tried to grab his son’s shotgun.
Ahmaud Arbery (pictured) was chased and shot Feb. 23, 2020, after he was spotted running in the suburban neighborhood of Satilla Shores, located just outside the port city of Brunswick
Nohilly was also quizzed by Gregory McMichaels’ attorney Frank Hogue over when the detective himself might have pulled a gun in a similar situation to the one on that fateful day of February 23, 2020.
Asked if that would be when someone didn’t stop, Nohilly replied: ‘No, I don’t just pull my gun.’
Hogue responded: ‘At some point if the person is going to attack you, you’ll go ahead and use your weapon.’
‘It depends on how he’s attacking me,’ Nohilly said.
‘If the circumstance includes being attacked by someone who seems to be trying to take your gun from you – putting his hands on it – you might use your gun, wouldn’t you?’ Hogue pressed.
‘At that point it might meet the threshold, yes,’ the police sergeant said.
Officer-worn body camera footage presented in court on Monday showed Gregory McMichael, 65, (left) consoling his son, Travis McMichael (right), after the 35-year-old shot Ahmaud Arbery
‘You had no choice,’ ex-cop Gregory McMichael (left) told Travis McMichael (right), as he placed his hands on his son’s shoulders
Officer-worn body camera footage presented in court on Monday revealed that McMichael told officers on scene of the shooting that he would’ve shot the jogger himself if his son had not done so.
‘To be perfectly honest with you, if I could have gotten a shot at the guy, I’d have shot him myself,’ McMichael said, according to a transcript of Officer Jeff Brandeberry’s body-camera footage that was read aloud in court Tuesday.
McMichael added: ‘This ain’t no shuffler. This guy’s an a**hole.’
Glenn County Police Detective Parker Marcy also took the stand on Tuesday, alleging that hours after the incident, McMichael admitted he was carrying a pistol and prepared to shoot Arbery.
‘I said, ‘Stop, you know, I’ll blow your f*****g head off or something,” McMichael said, according to a transcript of the conversation of his conversation with Marcy.
‘I was trying to convey to this guy we were not playing.’
McMichael also consoled his son, Travis McMichael, after the 35-year-old allegedly shot Arbery three times.
‘You had no choice,’ the elder McMichael said as he placed his hands on his son’s shoulders, as Arbery laid on ground, bleeding.
Arbery was chased and shot Feb. 23, 2020, after he was spotted running in the suburban neighborhood of Satilla Shores, located just outside the port city of Brunswick.
Travis McMichael (left), Gregory McMichael (center) and William Bryan Jr. (right) have all pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, aggravated assault and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment
This image from video posted on Twitter in May 2020, purports to show Ahmaud Arbery stumbling and falling to the ground after being shot by Travis McMichael
Police photographs presented in court Monday showed bloodstains on the asphalt (left) and Travis McMichael’s pump-action 12-gauge shotgun lying on grass near Arbery’s body (right)
Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael armed themselves and used a pickup truck to pursue Arbery after they spotted him running in their neighborhood.
A neighbor, William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, 52, joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery in the street at close range.
Prosecutors say the McMichaels and Bryan chased Arbery for five minutes before he was shot in the street after running past the McMichaels’ idling truck.
The first police officer on the scene, Ricky Minshew, testified earlier in the trial that Bryan told him Arbery at one point in the chase stopped to catch his breath and appeared to be ‘tired of running.’
The McMichaels and Bryan have all pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, aggravated assault and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.