Man Charged With Arbery's Murder Worked As Officer After Losing Certification

Sandy Malone

Gregory McMichael, who is charged with murder, worked eight years as chief investigator without the proper credentials.

Brunswick, GA – Hundreds of defendants who passed through the Brunswick Judicial Circuit while one of the men who is charged with Ahmaud Arbery’s murder worked as chief investigator there may soon have the opportunity to have their cases reviewed.

Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office records showed that Gregory McMichael was a law enforcement officer who was forced into retirement in 2019 after he was caught for a second time without proper use-of-force and firearms training certifications, The Washington Post reported.

McMichael was stripped of his badge, gun, and police powers when his law enforcement certification was suspended in February of 2019,

The 20-year veteran of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit was allowed to work until his retirement four months later, but he was transferred into a civilian role as a staff liaison for the Camden County District Attorney’s Office, WJXT reported.

He was not allowed to carry a badge, gun, or law enforcement credentials anymore.

Eleven months after McMichael retired from a more than 20-year career as an investigator for the district attorney, the 64-year-old former law enforcement officer and his son, 34-year-old Travis McMichael, were arrested for the murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery whose family said was just out jogging when he was killed.

The police report said the incident on Feb. 23 began when Arbery jogged past the home of Gregory and Travis McMichael, the Associated Press reported.

The McMichaels told police afterwards that they thought Arbery was the suspect in several recent burglaries in the neighborhood, so they armed themselves and followed him, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The men jumped in their pickup truck and followed the 25 year old as he jogged through the neighborhood.

A video, filmed by the McMichaels’ friend, Willian Bryan, who was following in another vehicle, showed Arbery running up the middle of the residential road toward a white pickup truck was stopped ahead of him.

The video showed Arbery ran around the truck and a struggle ensued before he reappeared back in front of it again and engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle for Travis McMichael’s shotgun.

Arbery was shot twice in the chest and died at the scene.

No arrests were made for more than two months after the shooting as the case was passed from prosecutor to prosecutor, prompting outrage from Arbery’s family and community.

It has since been reported that McMichael’s former boss, Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson, told police not to arrest either McMichael on the night Arbery was shot.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was asked to assist in the investigation into Arbery’s death in early May, and 48 hours later, both Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested for murder.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has asked the GBI and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) to investigate the handling of Arbery’s case, WJXT reported.

"Unfortunately, many questions and concerns have arisen regarding, among other things, the communications between and actions taken by the District Attorneys of the Brunswick and Waycross Circuits,” Carr said Tuesday. “As a result, we have requested the GBI to review in order to determine whether the process was undermined in any way.”

But revelations about her role in the case may be the least of the Brunswick district attorney’s problems.

After McMichael was arrested, his personnel file was released to the media through “Sunshine Law” requests and showed that he had spent eight of his 20 years as chief investigator for Johnson working without law enforcement certification.

And he was caught twice before it ended his career, WJXT reported.

In 2014, the Georgia’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council notified McMichael that his certification had been suspended because of his failure since 2006 to complete necessary training in de-escalation, community policing, use of force, and firearms that was required on an annual basis to maintain his credentials and police powers.

McMichael claimed hardship from medical bills resulting from him and his wife having a series of medical problems, and Johnson wrote a letter to Georgia POST asking them to grant a waiver, WJXT reported.

“This situation has been a great embarrassment to me and to investigator McMichael,” Johnson wrote. “It has negatively impacted my office, and I have taken measures to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Please accept my sincere apology.”

But Georgia’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Council Executive Director Mike Ayers explained to WJXT that regardless of his later reinstatement, during the eight years when McMichael wasn’t certified, he had no more police powers to make an arrest than an average citizen.

Ayers said McMichael couldn’t apply for arrest warrants or search warrants or conduct arrests “under color of the law” from 2006 to 2014.

Records showed that Georgia POST reinstated McMichael in 2014, but then the veteran investigator let his training lapse again in 2018 and was once again suspended, WJXT reported.

That suspension led to his transfer and retirement.

But now that all of the information about his suspensions has become public, and it’s known that McMichael was acting in a law enforcement capacity for eight years when he was not certified to do so, a whole new Pandora’s Box has been opened in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, WJXT reported.

Attorney Gene Nichols explained that the defendants from every single case that McMichael worked on will be able to go back to the court and ask to have their cases reviewed.

Nichols told WJXT that depending on how much involvement the uncertified investigator had in each individual case, some defendants were likely to have convictions overturned and be granted new trials.

Ayers noted the irony of which trainings McMichael had skipped during his law enforcement career - de-escalation, community policing, use of force, and firearms training.

“Those particular classes are critically important, especially when you look at situations like de-escalation,” he told WJXT. “How do you keep a situation from getting out of hand? Which is potentially what you’re looking at specifically in this situation.”

Ayers said “de-escalation training certainly speaks to that whole issue.”

He said that Georgia POST now does yearly audits and sends notifications to officers and their employers as soon as police powers have been suspended, WJXT reported.

Comments (59)
No. 1-14
Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Everyone knows Travis was acting as a civilian.

Gregory, whom this article is about, was not even the shooter. He didn't impersonate, and no private citizen goes through that training that he missed.

Here is the memo noting that Gregory McMichael turned over his badge, gun, etc when requested back shortly before he retired....


damn I can't wait til they get put in gen pop


Scandalous! I guess Gregory McMicheal had some sort of social connection or physical trait (skin color) that allowed him to work in law enforcement without the proper credentials and to have his murder case against a black man whitewashed (pun intended). South Georgia isn't exactly known for easy on the black community (rather quite racist) as we can see from this case.


Whoever wrote this article doesn't seem to know anything about law enforcement training. The two items appear to be annual recerts. No one is going to have their case reviewed because of a lapse in training. It may be a civil issue if he violated use of force policies but the implication that he did something dishonest or did something that would disqualify him from his job is just wrong.




Lack of a certifications -
Blame his employer for not having a processed in place to be alerted when certifications lapse! Years went by! Boy, this story gets deeper by the day!


To many unanswered questions here so I would suggest don't go jogging in georgia

Cop Watch
Cop Watch

this shit just gets deeper and deeper. at least the criminals are in jail where they belong!


The video says it all. The rest is just BS.


There is no evidence that Arbery was jogging. On video he walked in front of the house under construction, looked around to see if anyone was watching, then went into the house. Maybe he was curious or maybe he wanted to see what was there to come back after dark. Media bias to call home a jogger. He was wearing long khaki shorts. More bias: always show the nice high school picture of him. It is at least 7 years old but a nice picture. Refer to him as a jogger, not an unemployed man with a history of gun involved criminal behavior. There is a booking picture of him from when he was arrested for taking a gun to a school event. Bu, for the McMichaels always show their sweaty booking photos. From the video taken, (I don't know if is one of those reversed kind) the lest lane of the road and the grassy area beside the road is open. Arbery ran to the right around the truck and then he and the young McMichael had words. McMichael has holding a shotgun and nothing shows him pointing it at Arbery. Arbery grabs the shotgun . This can be seen as an attack, especially for those know that a majority of police officers that are shot are shot with their weapon that was taken away from them. Arbery may have felt threatened but there was plenty of room for him to run. Both McMichaels were stupid for even having the gun with them. Police were literally 3 minutes away. In the end there was dumb behavior on all sides but Arbery is dead and that is a very sad thing.