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As a new video emerges in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, showing the man entering an unfinished home under construction prior to being shot and killed by a Georgia father and son, ethics questions have emerged over the first video.
The shooting is being called a hate crime by many because Arbery, 25, was black and the men involved in the incident are white.
The confrontation between Arbery and Gregory McMichael, a former police officer, and his son Travis, was captured on video and details behind the release of the video have raised “interesting professional conduct questions among lawyers observing the case,” Law & Crime reported.
Local criminal defense attorney, Alan Tucker, who “had informally consulted with the suspects,” according to the New York Times, released the video. Tucker told the Times “that the video had come from the cellphone of a man who had filmed the episode and that he [Tucker] later gave the footage to [a local] radio station.”
The video, recorded by William “Roddie” Bryan, who gave it to the police before also giving it to Tucker, the Times reported, prompted widespread outrage and arguably led to McDaniels and his son being charged with murder Thursday for the February 23 shooting.
Caution: Disturbing Content
The suspected reportedly sought “informal” counsel from Tucker, who told the Times he leaked the video to dispel rumors that were fueling tensions.
“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 said.
“It got the truth out there as to what you could see,” he added. “My purpose was not to exonerate them or convict them.”
More on the ethical questions behind that decision from Law & Crime:
Tucker has made clear though other interviews that he is not representing the McMichaels. Still, the professional conduct implications of his decision to leak the video are raising eyebrows among some members of the legal community. Generally, information disclosed to or received by attorneys in contemplation of a representation is confidential — even when it is provided before the attorney is formally hired, ethics rules and experts say.
Media reports on the shooting characterize Arbery as a black jogger gunned down by two white men in a pickup truck searching for a burglary suspect.
A second video, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, shows a man believed to be Arbery entering a house under construction.
The video appears to have been taken by a home security camera, and a man is seen jogging by the property, before stopping and going inside. After less than five minutes at the construction site, the man appears to leave through the front door with nothing.
In a statement, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations stressed that the second video had been seen prior to the McMichaels being arrested.
“We are indeed reviewing additional video footage and photographs as part of the active case,” the GBI said in a statement, according to AJC. “It is important to note that this footage was reviewed at the beginning of the GBI investigation and before the arrests of Gregory and Travis McMichael.”
As AJC reported, Arbery served five years probation for carrying a weapon on campus while in high school, and several counts obstructing a law enforcement officer.
In 2018, he was convicted of probation violation after being charged with shoplifting.
The elder McMichael, a former Glynn County police officer, said he recognized Arbery from surveillance video of a recent burglary and planned to make a citizen’s arrest.
Members of the Arbery family hired high profile attorney Benjamin Crump, who also represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, the 18-year-old black man who was shot and killed while violently attacking a white police officer.
The phrase “hunted down” quickly became part of the narrative, with a huge boost by NBA star Lebron James.
We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes! Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man fr ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud(Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the….. pic.twitter.com/r1PNxs8Vgn
— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 6, 2020
As was seen in the Michael Brown case, the media narrative “hands up, don’t shoot” swept the nation, as if Brown was gunned down in the street while surrendering.
The Eric Holder Justice Department would later determine that this never happened and that the narrative was a lie, even though it is still repeated to this day.
Candace Owen, founder of the #Blexit movement encouraging black Americans to leave the Democratic Party, set off a firestorm on Twitter when she attempted to get in front of the building narrative around Arbery.
Owen tweeted: “Ahmaud Arbery was caught on camera breaking into an unfinished property that was owned by Larry English. His mother has confirmed it is him in the video. Please stop with the ‘just a jogger’ bulls*** narrative. Avid joggers don’t wear khaki shorts & stop to break into homes.”
Ahmaud Arbery was caught on camera breaking into an unfinished property that was owned by Larry English.
His mother has confirmed it is him in the video.
Please stop with the “just a jogger” bullshit narrative.
Avid joggers don’t wear khaki shorts & stop to break into homes.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) May 9, 2020
She was also quick to dispel claims that she was somehow justifying the incident, or saying Arbery “deserved” to be shot.
“Literally nowhere not once did I say he deserved to die so stop trolling for a response,” she responded to one tweet.
Literally nowhere not once did I say he deserved to die so stop trolling for a response.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) May 10, 2020
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