William Roddie Bryan Brunswick, Georgia man who filmed Ahmayd Arbery fatal shooting charged w/ murder & false imprisonment. Was he willfully abetting ‘black jogger’s’ entrapment and murder?
The man who filmed Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting has been arrested on charges including murder, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday.
William ‘Roddie’ Bryan Jr., 50, was arrested on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment, officials announced.
The charges stem from the February 23 incident that resulted in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, the GBI said.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were charged this month with murder and aggravated assault for the shooting death of unarmed Arbery, 25, in Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23.
Bryan, a neighbor of the McMichaels, watched and shot the footage of the attack. It was his cellphone footage that exposed the killing of the jogger. He will be booked into the Glynn County Jail.
Bryan claims receiving death threats since shooting video being leaked
Bryan’s arrest follows Ben Crump, an attorney for the victim’s family, demanding Bryan’s arrest for aiding and abetting the McMichaels in Arbery’s murder.
‘This is William ‘Roddie’ Bryan – who we believe may have been the third person in pursuit of #AhmaudArbery. If he chased down Ahmaud and filmed his execution, he should be arrested and charged with aiding and abetting them in committing this crime of murder. #RunWithMaud,’ Crump posted on Twitter.
Bryan lives just a few houses away from the McMichaels, close to where the killing took place. To date the neighbor has maintained he was only a ‘witness’ and not an accomplice in the shooting.
Bryan has claimed receiving death threats since the video was leaked to the public.
Just chasing a burglar in the area?
The case led to wide social discontent following the release of video earlier this month after father and son evaded prosecution for more than two months, after the duo initially claimed they thought Arbery was a burglar after a spate of thefts in the area, and that he attacked them when they tried to make a citizen’s arrest.
The father and son’s claims were challenged after Bryan’s vide seemingly showed the two men chasing and gunning down the victim in the street.
The lawyer for Arbery’s family said the 25-year-old was chased for four minutes before being gunned down.
Innocent witness or willing accomplice?
Video appeared to show the men ‘ambushing’ Arbery as he tried to run past their pickup truck.
Bryan’s attorney Kevin Gough has previously denied claims his client was armed at the time of the killing and insisted he is ‘not a vigilante’.
Bryan claimed there had been a number of crimes in the neighborhood in recent weeks – despite cops saying there were no burglaries reported in the two months leading up to the young man’s death.
Gough said the shooting simply ‘start[ed] happening in front of him’ and Bryan had handed over the footage to police ‘immediately’ after the incident.
He told Weekend TODAY Bryan had arrived at the scene after he saw Arbery running through the neighborhood and being pursued by the McMichaels in their truck.
‘He was in his yard and this just starts happening in front of him,’ said Gough. ‘He gets in his car and is trying to document that.’
Bryan has fully cooperated with law enforcement – lawyer claims
When asked why Bryan followed and filmed the attack, his attorney said ‘he was trying to get [Arbery’s] picture… because there had been a number of crimes in this neighborhood and he didn’t recognize him and a vehicle that he did recognize was following him.’
‘From day one Mr Bryan has fully cooperated with law enforcement officers investigating this matter,’ he said in the First Coast News footage.
Gough said Bryan handed the cellphone footage to police as soon as officers arrived on the scene.
Bryan ‘disclosed the existence of the videotape and invited a responding Glynn County police officer to sit with him in his truck where they watched the video together,‘ Gough said.
‘Mr Bryan went home and came back out to the crime scene shortly after at the request of law enforcement to further assist them and then later Mr Bryan voluntarily went to the Glynn County Police Department where he answered all the questions they had for him without a lawyer during a lengthy interview.’
Gough branded reports that Bryan had a firearm with him when he arrived on the scene ‘irresponsible’ and insisted he was ‘unarmed’.
He said the ‘family man‘ ‘does not understand’ why he is being investigated over the shooting.
‘Despite his cooperation and for reasons he does not understand Mr Bryan has learned the family and apparently their lawyers are demanding he be arrested,’ said Gough.
‘He is not and never has been a vigilante.’
Ahmaud could be alive today if William Roddie Bryan hadn’t participated. But he is still roaming free. He kept that video for months. It was not his choice to release it to the public. He is an accomplice and co-conspirator. Georgia must arrest! #JusticeForAhmaudArbery pic.twitter.com/lMAZlnOxam
— Wincle Sterling (@MemphisOrff) May 18, 2020
Was the former police investigator and his son given special protection by the prosecutor’s office?
The attorney who leaked the footage shot by Bryan to the press said he did it because he believed it would clear the McMichaels of any crime.
Attorney Alan Tucker told Inside Edition that he was a close friend of the two men charged with Arbery’s murder. ‘I really thought releasing the video would put the truth out to the public,’ Tucker stated.
‘If he [Arbery] had just froze and hadn’t done anything, then he wouldn’t have been shot.’
Of contention is the fact that Gregory McMichael had served as an investigator for the local prosecutor’s office for more than two decades and had only retired last year. Assertions persist that the father was given special protection by the prosecutor’s office who declined to initially pursue a criminal investigation.
Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson as a result of the ties has since recused herself from the case.
Two outside prosecutors assigned the case have also stepped aside.
It wasn’t until May 7, that the father and son were arrested following the Georgia Bureau of Investigation taking over the shooting investigation from Glynn County police.
Soon after the GBI’s involvement was announced, a Brunswick attorney with access to the shooting video released it to a local radio station — and copies soon proliferated online.
The McMichaels remain jailed in Glynn County waiting for a preliminary court hearing and for a judge to decide whether to free them on bond pending trial. Attorneys for the father and son have urged people not to rush to judgment in the case.