Nearly three months after filming Ahmaud Arbery being shot to death from the driver’s seat of his vehicle, William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. has been charged with murder along with the neighbors his cellphone video shows appearing to ambush Arbery.
Bryan’s video, which was released online May 5, was instrumental in the arrests of Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, who are charged with the shooting death of Arbery as he was jogging in their Brunswick, Georgia subdivision. Despite the fact that the Arbery was killed on February 23, Gregory and Travis McMichael were not arrested until May 7, after public outcry over Bryan’s video, which appears to show the men blocking Arbery’s path with their pickup and engaging in a scuffle before shots are fired and Arbery falls to the ground.
While Gregory and Travis McMichael say that they were attempting to apprehend Arbery because they believed he matched the description of a burglar, Bryan’s attorney says he is simply a witness, according to the AP:
“Roddie Bryan is not now, and has never been, more than a witness to the shooting,” Gough said in a statement on the case Monday. “He is not a vigilante. Roddie did not participate in the horrific killing of this young man. Mr. Bryan has committed no crime, and bears no criminal responsibility in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.”
However, in the Glynn County police incident report, Gregory McMichael told officers a different story, saying that when he and his son blocked Arbery’s path with their pickup, he attempted to run in Bryan’s direction: “[Arbery] began running back the direction from which he came and `Roddy’ attempted to block him which was unsuccessful,” the report states.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case from local police, has charged Bryan with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment and will give more information in a press conference on Friday.