Georgia Authorities Arrest 3rd Man In Ahmaud Arbery Killing

May 21, 2020
Originally published on May 22, 2020 10:45 am

The man who filmed video of the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in February has been arrested, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Thursday. William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. is charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

Bryan, 50, recorded the video that ignited anger and protests in the Brunswick, Ga., area earlier this month. It shows Arbery, who is black, jogging down a residential street, two white men confronting him, and the ensuing struggle.

Three gunshots are fired before Arbery falls to the ground.

The other two men in the video, Gregory and Travis McMichael, were arrested two days after the video became public, once the GBI took over the case. They were both charged with murder and aggravated assault.

William "Roddie" Bryan was arrested Thursday in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.
Glynn County Sheriff's Office

Even as supporters of Arbery's family celebrated those arrests, they called for Bryan to be arrested as well, alleging he was involved in the Feb. 23 fatal shooting. Bryan and his attorney, Kevin Gough, have appeared on television recently and denied any involvement or even any relationship with the McMichaels.

Bryan's name does appear in the police report filed the day of the shooting. Gregory McMichael told police that after he and his son Travis attempted and failed to stop Arbery, "Roddy" tried to intercept him, according to the report.

In a statement, lawyers for Arbery's parents said the family was "relieved" to learn of Bryan's arrest.

"We want anyone who participated in the murder of Mr. Arbery to be held accountable," they said.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

Authorities in Georgia have arrested a third man in connection with the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. In a press conference this morning, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said they do not think there will be any more arrests and those who have been charged have been charged. Arbery, who was black, was jogging when he was shot and killed by two white men in February. The man who recorded video of that shooting is now charged with murder and attempted false imprisonment. Here's Emily Jones from Georgia Public Broadcasting to explain.

EMILY JONES, BYLINE: The graphic video of Ahmaud Arbery's death provoked an angry and emotional response when it became public earlier this month. Arbery's friend Akeem Baker described watching the video earlier this week on a Georgia Public Broadcasting talk show.

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AKEEM BAKER: I was heartbroken to see my friend being hunted down and killed like some animal. My heart just ached for him. It was like it was just open season on his life.

JONES: Two months had gone by with no arrests by the local police. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation stepped in the day the video became public, and within two days, the father and son accused of killing Arbery were behind bars. Gregory and Travis McMichael have been charged with murder. But many have also called for the arrest of the man who recorded the video, William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. It's been a theme of protests over the last two weeks.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: That third individual, the videographer - the chilling silence when he was recording the murder - the modern-day lynching of Ahmaud Arbery - say he got to go.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: He got to go.

JONES: Chris Stewart is one of the lawyers for Arbery's parents, and he points to what Greg McMichael told police the day of the shooting - that Roddie tried to intercept Arbery as he jogged.

CHRIS STEWART: They didn't just say he was there. They said that he participated and tried to box Ahmaud in, cut him off. I mean, that is participating in a crime.

JONES: William "Roddie" Bryan and his attorney maintain he was not involved and was just a witness. They have denied Bryan had any relationship with the McMichaels. According to a statement from lawyers for Arbery's family, they're relieved by Bryan's arrest. It's the latest step in one of several ongoing investigations. The GBI is looking into the handling of the case. Arbery's family and their supporters are also calling for the removal of two local prosecutors who dealt with the shooting. And defense attorneys for the McMichaels have said there is more video of the incident that will come out in court. Most legal proceedings in Georgia are on hold until at least June 12 because of the coronavirus.

For NPR News, I'm Emily Jones in Savannah. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.