(CN) — Even though the first police officer to reach the scene of Ahmaud Arbery’s killing in south Georgia last February arrived only a minute after Travis McMichael fired the three fatal gunshots, the officer told jurors Monday that he was unable to render medical aid to the 25-year-old Black man as he lay bleeding in the street.
Ricky Minshew, a former patrol officer for the Glynn County Police Department, testified Monday in the murder trial of three men charged with Arbery's killing. He said he was responding to a non-emergency call about a “suspicious Black male” in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, when he heard the shots that killed Arbery.
Within “45 to 60 seconds," he rounded a corner and was flagged down by two men. As he drove closer, he said he saw Arbery laying face-down in a pool of blood.
The Remington 12 gauge shotgun used by Travis McMichael to shoot Arbery was on the ground, Minshew said. Video footage taken from Minshew’s bodycam showed McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael, pacing close by.
The two men, along with their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, have been charged with murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment for chasing Arbery in their pick-up trucks after they saw him jogging in their neighborhood and fatally shooting him.
The three defendants, who are all white, have pleaded not guilty. They claim they only intended to detain Arbery for suspected burglary under Georgia’s now-repealed citizen’s arrest law.
Minshew testified Monday that he called for emergency medical help but did not render any aid to Arbery himself.
“I was the only officer on the scene. Without having any other police units to watch my back, there was no way I could switch to do anything medical and still be able to watch my surroundings,” he told the jury, adding that he lacked the training or medical equipment to treat Arbery’s wounds.
Minshew said blood was spreading out away from Arbery’s body by the time he arrived on the scene. He said he heard the man make a noise he described as a “death rattle."
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse Monday, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, expressed confusion about why Minshew did not do more to help her son.
“I didn’t really understand why he didn’t render aid,” she said. “I understood he had to go and secure the crime scene, but at the same time he had a guy laying in the middle of the road in a puddle of blood. I couldn’t really understand why he didn’t render aid at that time.”
The full extent of Arbery’s injuries has repeatedly been made clear to jurors through graphic photos and videos.
During testimony on Monday from Sergeant Sheila Ramos, a Glynn County crime scene investigator, the jury saw crime scene images of Arbery’s gunshot wounds, his blood-soaked running shoes and the blood-stained road surrounding his body.
Ramos testified that Arbery was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
On Friday, a video taken from Glynn County police officer William Duggan’s bodycam showed his futile attempt to staunch the flow of blood from a gaping wound in Arbery’s chest.
Jurors have also watched the widely shared video footage of the shooting filmed by Bryan, which shows Travis McMichael and Arbery struggling for control of the shotgun. Three gunshots are audible before Arbery is seen stumbling away and falling to the ground.
Although the killing took place in February, it was not until the video leaked in May and went viral that anyone was arrested or charged with any crime.
When questioned by Minshew at the scene of the crime, Bryan showed him the video on his phone. Bryan told the officer he had joined the chase after Arbery ran past his house while being pursued by the McMichaels’ truck.
Bryan admitted he tried to use his truck to “block in” and “corner” Arbery five times, Minshew testified.
According to Minshew, Bryan said, "I'd cut him off pretty good."
Minshew said Bryan never told him he was trying to make a citizen’s arrest and did not say he saw Arbery with a weapon. He did, however, question whether he should have participated in the chase.
Reading from the transcript of his bodycam footage, Minshew testified that Bryan told him: “Should I have been chasing him? I don’t know.”
Minshew said Monday that he did not view Bryan as a "threat" and allowed him to leave the scene.