WASHINGTON • The authorities in the southern US state of Georgia have said they had "more than sufficient probable cause" to charge two white men over the killing of an unarmed black jogger, as protesters gathered outside a courthouse on Friday to decry the fatal shooting.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, were arrested late last Thursday and charged with murder and aggravated assault in the Feb 23 death of Mr Ahmaud Arbery. The authorities did not explain why it took 74 days for the suspects to be detained.
The death of Mr Arbery, 25, in Brunswick, captured in a video that has gone viral, was the latest killing of an unarmed black American. The shooting galvanised activists who say it highlights deeply rooted racism in the country.
Hundreds of demonstrators, their faces covered in masks to protect them from the coronavirus, gathered in front of the city's courthouse on Friday to demand justice for Mr Arbery.
President Donald Trump said he had seen the video and called it "very, very disturbing".
"That looks like a really good, young guy... It's a very disturbing situation to me, and I just - you know, my heart goes out to the parents and the family and the friends," he told Fox News in an interview.
Mr Vic Reynolds, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, told a news conference on Friday that "there is more than sufficient probable cause in this case for felony murder".
He said the probe was ongoing and there could be more arrests.
Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested two days after the release of the video showing Mr Arbery being gunned down in the middle of a road in broad daylight.
In the footage, Mr Arbery is seen running down a residential street and approaching a white truck that had stopped in the right lane, with a man standing in the back.
As Mr Arbery tries to get around the vehicle, he is confronted by a second man holding a shotgun. An altercation between the two ensues and three shots can be heard.
...very, very disturbing. That looks like a really good, young guy... It's a very disturbing situation to me, and I just - you know, my heart goes out to the parents and the family and the friends.
U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, on the shooting of Mr Ahmaud Arbery by Gregory McMichael and his son Travis.
The man who filmed the clip that caught the nation's attention has also been named as a person of interest in the investigation.
Reports say Gregory McMichael, a retired police officer, had long worked in the local district attorney's office as an investigator.
The original police report stated that Gregory McMichael had claimed he thought Mr Arbery was a burglar trying to escape the scene of a nearby break-in. He said he and his son grabbed their guns and set off in pursuit, but that the confrontation went badly wrong.
The slain man's family said he was simply out jogging and was the victim of a hate crime. The footage has prompted a number of celebrities to call for action, including basketball star LeBron James and actress Zoe Kravitz.