A Georgia judge declined the motion to dismiss a charge against an ex-high-ranking prosecutor who had been indicted for holding up the investigation into the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.
Former Brunswick district attorney Jackie Johnson was previously charged with violating her oath of office and hindering a law enforcement investigation, to which she denied any wrongdoing.
Earlier this week, Superior Court judge John R. Turner struck down the motion, which was filed last year, and sought dismissal of the case, citing a lack of evidence, according to The Associated Press.
Johnson was prosecutor at the time of Arbery’s death in February 2020. Two white men, identified as Gregory and Travis McMichael, chased Arbery in a pickup truck while he was jogging in the neighborhood, suspecting that he was behind a string of break-ins. Arbery, an unarmed Black man, was fatally shot by Travis. The duo’s neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, recorded the incident.
The McMichaels and Bryan were arrested and charged months later in May for Arbery’s murder. It came after a video of the killing started to circulate on social media, triggering national outrage. All of them were found guilty of state and federal offenses.
The incident happened the same year as other high-profile shootings against Black people, including Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
In September 2021, Johnson was indicted after she was accused of using her position to shield the McMichaels following the shooting, more specifically telling officers not to arrest Travis, AP reported. His father, a retired investigator, was a former employee at her office. Johnson said she recused herself from the case due to the conflict of interest.
In responding court filings, prosecutors showed 16 calls from phones belonging to both Greg McMichael and Johnson after the deadly shooting, according to the report. Her affiliation to this case caused her to be voted out of office.
Arbery’s father, Marcus, has spoken out and criticized the slow progress of Johnson’s case, as her last court hearing was last December, and she waived her appearance.
“Jackie Johnson, you are not above the law,” Arbery told Action News Jax. “You’ll come to justice.”