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The Georgia man who recorded the now-infamous shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery has been arrested and charged with murder.
Arbery, 25, was shot to death on February 23 as he was jogging through a neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Georgia. Widespread outrage ignited after video footage which appeared to capture his death was leaked online months later. The alleged killers — Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34 — were arrested just days after the video leaked in early May and after state officials took over the investigation.
The McMichaels have been charged with felony murder and aggravated assault for allegedly chasing Arbery down after assuming he was a robber, sparking a national debate once again about racism and vigilantism.
Now, the man who filmed Arbery's death has joined the McMichaels in being charged with felony murder. William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., 50, was arrested Thursday and charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Bryan’s bond has not yet been set, according to Glynn County Jail records provided to Oxygen.com.
"The family of Ahmaud Arbery was relieved to learn that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has today taken William 'Roddie' Bryan into custody,” Lee Merritt, Benjamin Crump and L. Chris Stewart, the lawyers who represent Arbery's parents, said in a Thursday statement obtained by Georgia outlet WTOC-TV. “We called for his arrest from the very beginning of this process. His involvement in the murder of Mr. Arbery was obvious to us, to many around the country and after their thorough investigation, it was clear to the GBI as well.”
The footage that Bryan recorded, taken on his cellphone from a moving vehicle, appears to show Arbery running down the street when he approaches a white truck parked in the middle of the road — allegedly occupied by the McMichaels. The people in the truck appear to threaten Arbery with guns and a struggle ensues. Gunshots are heard and Arbery is seen falling to the ground.
Bryan’s lawyer Kevin Gough has not immediately responded to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
Gough told CNN last week that his client is not a criminal. He instead maintains that Bryan would become the state’s star witness.
“If we believed he was a witness, we wouldn’t have arrested him,” GBI Director Vic Reynolds said during a Friday morning news conference. Reynolds didn't specify exactly what led to the murder charge but noted that GBI investigators did take evidence from Bryan and "there are a number of pieces of video that helped us get to this point."
Glynn County investigators have been publicly criticized for failing to make arrests sooner in the case. The elder McMichael is a former employee of the Glynn County District Attorney’s office and he is also a former police officer, WXIA-TV previously reported. Glynn County Commissioner Peter Murphy claimed earlier this month that District Attorney Jackie Johnson had blocked county police officers from arresting the father and son, the Brunswick News reported.
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