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By Rich McKay

ATLANTA (Reuters) - The mother of Ahmaud Arbery filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on Tuesday against the three men accused of killing her son, a Black man who was chased down and shot dead as he jogged through his Georgia neighborhood.

The $1 million suit, filed by Wanda Cooper on the anniversary of her son's death, also names police and other officials who did not initially bring charges in the case.

It alleges the killing was racially motivated, stating that the defendants "were motivated to deprive Ahmaud Arbery of equal protection of the law and his rights by bias, animus, (and) discrimination."

Filed in the U.S. Southern District of Georgia, the suit claims the Glynn County Police Department and prosecutors were part of a "deliberate effort to cover up Ahmaud's murder," as one of the accused killers was both a former police officer and investigator for the local district attorney's office.

Neither Cooper nor her attorney Lee Merritt were immediately available for comment to Reuters. The Glynn County Attorney's office and the Glynn County District Attorney's office, which oversees the prosecutors, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A video of the Feb. 23, 2020 death of Arbery, 25, in the coastal city of Brunswick sparked outrage across the country, with civil rights activists saying it marked yet another example of a targeted attack on Black man.

A former Glynn County police officer, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, were charged with murder and aggravated assault, but only after state authorities stepped in about two months after the shooting.

A third man, William "Roddie" Bryan, joined the McMichaels in chasing down Arbery, police say, and shot a video of the incident on his phone. The clip appears to show the McMichaels confronting Arbery before the jogger was shot with a shotgun.

Attorneys for the McMichaels were not immediately available, but Kevin Gough, an attorney for Bryan said that his client will be vindicated.

"The civil suit, like the criminal case, will show that Mr. Bryan acted within the law," Gough said.

A candlelight vigil was planned for Tuesday night in the Waynesboro, Georgia church where Arbery is buried. Attendees are asked to bring their own candles and wear a blue ribbon in his honor.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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Texas AG Ken Paxton Looking To Oust San Antonio Police Chief William McManus

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal battle against San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and the city’s top leadership has entered a new phase, with Paxton filing court papers seeking to strip McManus of his job.

In a petition filed last month in a state district court in San Antonio, Paxton alleges that McManus has violated state law by failing to turn over to federal immigration agents immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally.

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Paxton has been tangling with McManus and San Antonio in a state district court in Austin since November 2018 over the Alamo City’s handling of immigrants suspected of being in the United States illegally. In that lawsuit, Paxton accused McManus of violations of a new state law targeting what conservative critics call “sanctuary cities” for suspect immigrants. The pending lawsuit seeks millions of dollars in damages.

San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia describes the latest petition as frivolous and a transparent attempt by Paxton to distract the public from his own legal woes.

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The Associated Press has reported that the FBI is investigating renovations made to Paxton’s million-dollar home as part of an ongoing probe into allegations that the state’s highest-ranking attorney illegally helped a wealthy donor.

Last year, much of Paxton’s senior staff accused him of committing crimes to help Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, whom some of the Republican’s former deputies now say had a hand in work done on Paxton’s home. All of Paxton’s accusers then quit or were fired, and four later sued the attorney general under the state’s whistleblower law.

Paul gave $25,000 to Paxton’s 2018 reelection campaign and employed a woman with whom the attorney general allegedly had an extramarital affair, but the full nature of their relationship remains unclear. According to the lawsuit, the woman works as a construction project manager.

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(© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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