Years before he was gunned down while jogging, Ahmaud Arbery had a run-in with cops in which they found him in a park sitting alone in his car — and tried to tase him, newly released video shows.
Footage of the November 2017 incident, published by The Guardian on Monday, shows a patrolling Glynn County cop suspecting Arbery of using marijuana, saying the park was known for drug activity.
Arbery, dressed in a green hat, winter coat and athletic pants, with no shirt on, denied having drugs and said he was just relaxing by rapping in his car on his day off from work.
“You’re bothering me for nothing,” Arbery says in the video, before refusing to let the officer search his car.
After the officer, Michael Kanago, tells him he was looking for criminal activity, Arbery says: “criminal activity? I’m in a f–ing park. I work.”
A second cop, David Haney, shows up minutes later, screaming at Arbery to get his hands out of his pockets, which he did. He then attempts to zap Arbery with his Taser, but it malfunctioned, Kanago wrote in his report of the incident.
Arbery complied with the cops’ commands to get on the ground, telling them: “I get one day off a week… I’m up early in the morning trying to chill.”
“I’m just so aggravated because I work hard, six days a week.”
The encounter eventually ends with cops letting Arbery leave, but forbidding him from driving his car because his license is suspended.
In his report of the incident, which was previously described by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kanago claimed he felt threatened by Arbery and requested back-up.
“Veins were popping from [Arbery’s] chest, which made me feel that he was becoming enraged and may turn physically violent towards me,” he wrote.
The incident came to light as the police department faces scrutiny over Arbery’s Feb. 23 death, in which he was chased and confronted by father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael and shot dead.
Police didn’t arrest the pair until this month, after video of the shooting emerged online, sparking national outrage.
Three local prosecutors had recused themselves from the case because of their ties to Gregory McMichael, a former cop in Glynn County and a retired investigator for the district attorney’s office.
Lawyers for Arbery’s family said the 2017 incident was a clear depiction of “a situation where Ahmaud was harassed by Glynn county police officers.”
There was “no justifiable reason” for Arbery to be threatened with a Taser, the lawyers said.
“This appears to be just a glimpse into the kind of scrutiny Ahmaud Arbery faced not only by this police department, but ultimately regular citizens like the McMichaels and their posse, pretending to be police officers.”
In 2013, Arbery was placed on probation for carrying a gun at a high school basketball game. He was then charged with shoplifting and violating his probation in 2018, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Those charges have nothing to do with his killing, his attorneys have said.