Ahmaud Arbery: Third man charged over death of black jogger

Ahmaud Arbery
Ahmaud Arbery was out running in the Satilla Shores neighbourhood of Brunswick in Georgia's Glynn County early in the afternoon on 23 February.

A man who filmed the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in the US state of Georgia has been charged with murder.

William Bryan Jr was also charged with criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment on Thursday, said the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI).

Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was jogging when he was shot dead during a confrontation with a father and son in Brunswick on the afternoon of 23 February.

Gregory McMichael, 64, and son Travis, 34, were charged with murder on 7 May.

In the moments before the fatal confrontation, the McMichaels, who are white, armed themselves with a pistol and shotgun and pursued Mr Arbery in a pickup truck in the Satilla Shores neighbourhood.

Gregory McMichael told police he believed that Mr Arbery resembled the suspect in a series of local break-ins.

Mr Bryan’s 36-second video leaked online on 5 May, generating nationwide outcry that was swiftly followed by murder charges. It was filmed by Mr Bryan from his vehicle while he was driving behind Mr Arbery.

The clip appears to show Mr Arbery running down a tree-lined street as the McMichaels wait ahead for him in their vehicle.

Travis McMichael (left) and Gregory McMichael
Travis McMichael (left) and Gregory McMichael have also been arrested

 

A tussle follows and the younger Mr McMichael appears to fire a gun at point blank range at Mr Arbery, who falls to the street.

The Arbery family welcomed Thursday’s arrest, with their lawyer Lee Merritt saying Mr Bryan’s alleged involvement in the killing “was obvious to us, many around the country and after their thorough investigation, it was clear to the GBI as well”.

How was William Bryan involved?

According to the second of four prosecutors to recuse themselves from the case, Mr Bryan had been following “in hot pursuit” of Mr Arbery.

He is also mentioned in the Flynn County police report of the shooting, in which officers noted that Mr Bryan had unsuccessfully tried to block Mr Arbery’s path.

However, Mr Bryan told a local TV station that he “had nothing to do with it” and was in “complete shock”.

During the interview, he did not answer questions on why he was there or why he started recording, but his lawyer Kevin Gough said: “My client was responding to what he saw, which was someone in the community he didn’t know being followed by a vehicle he recognised.”

Mr Bryan has since taken a voluntary lie detector test – which law enforcement had not requested, his lawyer said in a statement on Monday.

He added that Mr Bryan had been in hiding with his fiancée because of death threats and accused the Arbery family lawyers of instigating them.

“Contrary to speculation, the polygraph examination confirms that on 23 Feb 2020, the day of the shooting, William ‘Roddie’ Bryan did not have any conversation with either Gregory or Travis McMichael prior to the shooting.

“Nor did William ‘Roddie’ Bryan have any conversation with anyone else that day prior to the shooting about criminal activity in the neighborhood,” said Mr Gough, using Mr Bryan’s nickname.

In a CNN interview, Mr Bryan said he had been praying for the Arbery family and hoped his tape would help bring closure.

“If there wasn’t a tape, then we wouldn’t know what happened,” he said. “I hope that it, in the end, brings justice to the family and peace to the family.”

Source: bbc.co.uk

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