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An officer testifies that he would have given Ahmaud Arbery a warning before he was killed


An officer testifies that he would have given Ahmaud Arbery a warning before he was killed.

In February 2020, three white men chased Ahmaud Arbery through a residential neighborhood in Georgia for five minutes and then shot him dead because they claimed to believe he was robbing homes in the area.

But a local police officer testified Friday that he simply gave Arbery, who had walked through a construction site months earlier, a warning for trespassing.

Robert Rash, a Glynn County police officer, testified during the murder trial of Gregory, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan.

He had spoken with Larry English, the owner of the unfinished home where the construction site was, multiple times.

English sent videos of Arbery’s Rash to the site via text messages, starting on October 25, 2019. The final text was sent on February 23, 2020, the day Arbery was shot and killed.

Rash said there were two outdoor cameras on the property – one was aimed at the front corner of the house and the other was on the dock.

Rash’s testimony came a day after prosecutors played a recorded statement in English detailing her calls to 911 about seeing a man in the unfinished home in the months leading up to Arbery’s death. English never reported anything stolen.

Arbery’s identity was unknown to Rash at the time. He told prosecutors that he was looking for the man on the property and that Georgia police have a standard protocol for people caught trespassing, which is a misdemeanor under state law.

Rash told prosecutor Linda Dunikoski that she would have told Arbery to “go away and never come back” and that ultimately it would have been English’s decision whether Arbery had been arrested on burglary charges.

Dunikoski asked Rash if he knew Gregory McMichael before the shooting. Rash said he did it because Gregory McMichael previously worked in the county district attorney’s office.

Rash spotted Gregory McMichael in his front yard on the afternoon of December 20, 2019, and they talked about an “unidentified black man” at the site who was “continually” going in and out of the property.

Rash told Gregory McMichael that he had surveyed the neighborhood and that no one knew who the person was.

He then said that he recommended that English contact Gregory McMichael because he already knew him and trusted him to handle the situation.

“Greg has training and experience, and in my opinion, he would be an expert witness to be on the phone with 911. He would know the pertinent information that officers would need,” Rash said.

“So you wanted him to be a witness?” Dunikoski asked.

But Rash told prosecutors that he never wanted Gregory and Travis McMichael to act as police officers or take police action into their own hands.

“Was it your intention to delegate them?” Dunikoski asked.

“Never,” Rash replied.

The jurors then viewed body camera footage from 12 days before Arbery was killed. It shows Rash arriving at the construction site with his gun drawn and a flashlight. He says, “Glynn County Sheriff, is anyone here?”

Look around and there is no one inside.

“We haven’t seen it, we searched everything,” Rash is heard saying.

Then Rash and a few neighbors began probing the neighborhood.

Rash testified that he reviewed the images given to him by English and that he never saw Arbery with any items in his hands that may have been taken off the site.

When asked if English ever reported any stolen items, including electronics or plumbing supplies found at the site, Rash said no.


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