Glynn County

Former Brunswick DA turns self in on charges related to investigation of Ahmaud Arbery’s death

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Sept. 8 Update: Action News Jax has obtained the mug shot of former Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson.

The-49-year-old was booked into the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, Sept. 8, and released the same day.

She is currently facing charges for violation of oath by a public officer and willful obstructions of law enforcement officers in relation to the investigation of the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.

A court date has not been set at this time.

Read more in the original story from Thursday, Sept. 2 below:

Former Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson has been indicted in relation to the investigation of the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced Thursday.

Arrests would come months after Arbery’s death, but only after public outcry when video surfaced of the shooting. Arbery was running in the Satilla Shores neighborhood when he was shot and killed.

A grand jury indicted father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan on nine charges in Arbery’s death, including malice murder.

Timeline: The investigation into the killing of Ahmaud Arbery

Johnson is now facing charges of Violation of Oath of Public Officer and Obstruction of a Police Officer.

“Our office is committed to ensuring those who are entrusted to serve are carrying out their duties ethically and honestly,” Carr said in a news release. “We thank the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Glynn County Grand Jury for their hard work. While an indictment was returned today, our file is not closed, and we will continue to investigate in order to pursue justice.”

Carr’s Prosecution Division presented evidence to a Glynn County grand jury over several months, resulting in Johnson’s indictment. The charges Johnson is facing can carry the following penalties:

  • Violation of Oath of Public Officer – This is a felony that carries 1-5 years.
  • Obstruction and Hindering a Law Enforcement Officer – This is a misdemeanor that carries up to 12 months.

Lee Merritt, the attorney for Arbery’s family, released the following statement:

“Jackie Johnson— the prosecutor who allowed the truth surrounding Ahmaud Arbery’s murder to be concealed from the public was just criminally indicted by the Georgia Attorney General.

“Prosecutors must be held accountable when they interfere with investigations in order to protect friends and law enforcement. We will continue to pursue charges against George Barnhill who received the case from Johnson and immediately went to work attacking the character of #AhmaudArbery and making material misrepresentations of the facts involved in his brutal murder.

“Ahmaud’s mother Wanda Cooper is grateful for everyone who continues to advocate for justice for Ahmaud and for accountability at every level. #runwithmaud”


Johnson, who was first appointed DA in 2010, has been accused in the past of giving special treatment to law enforcement. One of the men charged with murder in Arbery’s death, Greg McMichael, used to work in Johnson’s office.

In addition to the Arbery case, Johnson was criticized for her handling of several high-profile cases, including the shooting of Carolyn Small.

Two Glynn County police officers fired into a car driven by Small. The unarmed 35-year-old mother was hit 8 times and died.

Johnson ruled the shooting justified. One of the officers exonerated was Lt. Cory Sasser. Sasser is the same officer who would years later become emotionally unstable.

Johnson’s office was criticized for a reportedly ignoring a call for Sasser’s arrest. Days later, Sasser gunned down his estranged wife, another man and himself.

Johnson lost her re-election bid in November 2020, and was defeated by Brunswick attorney Keith Higgins, an independent.