BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Tuesday marked the third day of testimony in the trial in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.
Glynn County Police Officer Jeff Brandeberry was the first to take the stand Tuesday. He was a patrol officer at the time of the shooting. Brandeberry said as he tried to get Gregory McMichael's statement, he was interrupted several times.
Brandeberry testified Gregory was confident Arbery was the man he'd seen on surveillance video going into a home under construction in the neighborhood several times.
He said Gregory told him, "I've seen the videos, so I know what the guy looks like ... Black guy ... he has these little short dreads. I don't know what the hell you call them."
Brandeberry also said he was the lead officer on scene handling writing up the report.
Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, was overheard in the courtroom saying he did a horrible job writing up the report. She was also overheard sounding frustrated when Brandeberry testified that he was interrupted several times while trying to get Gregory's statement.
Brandeberry described Gregory as a little upset and amped up when he arrived at the scene. He also overheard Gregory talking to an unknown man saying Arbery "tried to get the damn shotgun away."
The defense attorneys showed parts of Brandeberry's body camera video to show, they said, that Travis McMichael was compliant with law enforcement. In one segment, he tells an officer, "just do whatever you have to do" when she explains they need to take pictures of him before he can wash Arbery's blood off of him.
Cooper-Jones was overheard saying, "just sit down. They don't have anything," when the defense attorneys made that argument.
Prosecutors focused Tuesday on whether Gregory ever told responding officers he was making a citizen's arrest, one of the defense's key arguments. When prosecutors asked both Brandeberry and the second witness of the day, Detective Parker Marcy, if Gregory said he was attempting to make a citizen's arrest, they both testified that he did not.
Former Officer Ricky Minshew testified Monday that defendant William Roddie Bryan didn't tell him he was trying to make a citizen's arrest either.
Marcy testified that Gregory didn't use the words arrest or detain. Instead, he told Marcy he was going "to hold him 'til, you know, and call county police ... check him out ... I mean, you know, there was no doubt in my mind as to who this guy was. None. Having seen the videos prior."
Gregory also told Marcy he recognized Arbery from surveillance videos from the home under construction. Those videos were shown in court Tuesday. Marcy asked Gregory if Arbery took anything from the home.
"He said, and I'm quoting, 'You know, not that I recall. I don't think the guy has actually stolen anything out of there or if he did, it was early in this process, but he keeps going back there over and over again. He keeps going back to the damn house,'" Marcy said.
Marcy also said Gregory told him he has "no reason to think" Arbery stole Travis' pistol from his truck, other than "he's been doing this crap over and over," Gregory said, assuming Arbery was the suspect in neighborhood property crimes.
Marcy was on the stand for most of the day Tuesday. He said he took pictures of Travis McMichael at police headquarters with Arbery's blood still on him. Marcy also interviewed Gregory McMichael.
Marcy testified that Gregory told him he said to Arbery during the chase, "I said 'stop,' you know, 'I'll blow your f***ing head off,' or something. I was trying to indicate to this guy we're not playing around."
For the second time since Friday, Bryan's attorney, Kevin Gough, asked the judge to declare a mistrial. It came after prosecutors asked a witness about the relationship between the McMichaels and Bryan when both sides, Gough said, agreed they wouldn't discuss it. The judge denied his motion.
Cooper-Jones said hearing the testimony from officers and investigators over the past few days has made her even more upset that no arrests were made until nearly three months after the shooting.
“What’s so disturbing is that they did their investigation, but they didn’t seem to find enough evidence to make an arrest," she said. "Very, very disturbing."
Testimony has been stopped several time over the past few days as the judge resolves arguments between attorneys, prolonging things. Cooper-Jones said she thinks this is delaying justice for her son.