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US Investigators Say Man Who Filmed Arbery’s Killing Was More Than a Witness

02:47  23 may  2020
02:47  23 may  2020 Source:   nytimes.com

Unsigned note left at the Ahmaud Arbery memorial: 'I am so sorry. I should have stopped them'

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The man who filmed the horrific shooting of Ahmaud Arbery is the third person to be charged over his murder. He has previously insisted Bryan played no role in Arbery ' s death. "Roddie Bryan is not now, and has never been , more than a witness to the shooting," Gough said in a statement on the case

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said if the neighbor who filmed Ahmaud Arbery ' s fatal shooting was merely a witness 'then we wouldn't have He added that the GBI had collected more video footage of the shooting. Reynolds gave an update on what marked the 16th day since the GBI

DECATUR, Ga. — From the beginning, William Bryan has portrayed himself as a concerned citizen, one drawn by commotion when he pulled out his phone and filmed the fatal encounter between two of his white neighbors and Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was running in their neighborhood.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: A Saturday rally to protest the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. © Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Associated Press A Saturday rally to protest the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.

On Friday, the authorities said Mr. Bryan, who also is white, had been more than a bystander, and had done more than record the final 30 seconds of Mr. Arbery’s life.

In charging him with murder, officials said that Mr. Bryan, who had joined the pursuit of Mr. Arbery and filmed the confrontation in late February from a short distance, had contributed to his death by attempting to “confine and detain” Mr. Arbery with his vehicle. Mr. Bryan, 50, was also charged with criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

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Man Who Filmed Arbery Shooting Video Charged in His Slaying. The associated press (russ bynum). He has previously insisted Bryan played no role in Arbery ' s death. “Roddie Bryan is not now, and has never been , more than a witness to the shooting,” Gough said in a statement on the

Video of Arbery ’ s killing sent shock waves through the coastal community in southeast Georgia and enraged racial justice advocates across the United States, leaving many to wonder why it took more than two months for the McMichaels to be arrested.

“If we believed he was a witness, we wouldn’t have arrested him,” Vic Reynolds, the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, told reporters at a news conference on Friday.

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When the chilling video was posted online more than two months after Mr. Arbery was killed on Feb. 23, it provoked widespread outrage. Until that point, local activists had struggled to draw broader national attention to the case under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.

The video’s release also instigated sweeping investigations into the killing, the Glynn County Police Department’s handling of the case and eventually murder charges against three men, including Mr. Bryan, who was arrested on Thursday evening.

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  Man Who Filmed Ahmaud Arbery's Death Arrested on Related Charges William Bryan had previously said he was trying to be a "good Samaritan" by recording the slaying and has been in "complete shock" since witnessing Arbery's alleged murder.Bryan has been booked into the Glynn County Jail and his case is being investigated in partnership with District Attorney Joyette Holmes of the Cobb County District Attorney's Office, according to a press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The Georgia man who filmed the video of Ahmaud Arbery ' s fatal shooting has been arrested and charged with Arbery was killed on February 23 when a white father and son armed themselves and pursued him "Roddie Bryan is not now, and has never been , more than a witness to the shooting

William Bryan took the viral cellphone video of Arbery ' s killing . More Than 100 Police Officers Across the Country Have Died Due to the Coronavirus.

a man looking at the camera: William R. Bryan © Glynn County Sheriff's Office, via Reuters William R. Bryan

Kevin Gough, Mr. Bryan’s lawyer, said in a statement on Friday that Mr. Bryan had cooperated with law enforcement since the day of the shooting. “It feels like the only thing that has changed” regarding the case, Mr. Gough said, “are the changing political winds. But we will not rush to judgment.”

The charges against Mr. Bryan reflect the stark evolution of the case. Just weeks ago, the prevailing argument by prosecutors was that Mr. Arbery’s death was not a criminal offense and that none of the three men should be held criminally responsible.

But the release of the video set off a series of dominoes: the G.B.I. was called in to lead the investigation; Mr. Bryan’s neighbors — Gregory McMichael, 64, a retired law enforcement officer, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34 — were charged with murder and aggravated assault; and the case was assigned to a fourth prosecutor, the district attorney in Cobb County, in the metropolitan Atlanta area.

Man who filmed Ahmaud Arbery’s death arrested on murder charges, Georgia authorities say

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The Georgia man who recorded the horrific video of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery being shot to death has been charged with murder, the Georgia Bureau of William Bryan Jr. was charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment on Thursday in connection with Arbery ’ s

On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Marquez Arbery , an unarmed 25-year-old African-American man , was fatally shot on a street in Satilla Shores, a neighborhood near Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia.

a person standing in front of a building: “If we believed he was a witness, we wouldn’t have arrested him,” Vic Reynolds, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said of Mr. Bryan. © Branden Camp/EPA, via Shutterstock “If we believed he was a witness, we wouldn’t have arrested him,” Vic Reynolds, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said of Mr. Bryan.

“We are going to make sure we find justice in this case,” Joyette M. Holmes, the district attorney, said at the news conference on Friday. “We know that we have a broken family and a broken community down in Brunswick.”

After the McMichaels were arrested, Mr. Arbery’s family and activists zeroed in on Mr. Bryan, urging the authorities to charge him. Lawyers for Mr. Arbery’s family have argued that Mr. Bryan took part in the chase and “corralled” Mr. Arbery.

In a statement after Mr. Bryan’s arrest, the lawyers said the family was “relieved,” adding, “His involvement in the murder of Mr. Arbery was obvious to us.”

Mr. Arbery was killed on a Sunday afternoon near Brunswick as he was running through Satilla Shores, a neighborhood carved from the marshland along the southeast Georgia coast. He was jogging along a tree-lined street when he encountered the McMichaels. “Stop, stop,” they shouted at him, according to the police report, “we want to talk to you.”

GBI says neighbor who videotaped Ahmaud Arbery's killing just as responsible as shooters

  GBI says neighbor who videotaped Ahmaud Arbery's killing just as responsible as shooters The director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Friday that William Bryan, the neighbor who filmed Ahmaud Arbery's death, was not a good Samaritan or simply a witness, but a significant player in the February killing of the unarmed black man. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); "If we believed he was a witness, we wouldn't have arrested him," GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Friday. "There's probable cause and we're comfortable with that.

© Courtesy The Arbery family Ahmaud Arbery , 25, was killed while jogging on Feb. Bryan will be booked into the Glynn County Jail, GBI said . An initial police report noted Bryan tried unsuccessfully to block Arbery , who was jogging in the neighborhood when confronted.

MORE : Investigators execute search warrants for home of Ahmaud Arbery ' s alleged killers . Bryan took the viral cellphone footage depicting the chase and killing of Arbery , 25, on Feb. 23 in Glynn County. On May 7, Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested and charged with Arbery ' s murder.

In the video, Mr. Arbery and Travis McMichael are seen tussling over Mr. McMichael’s shotgun as Mr. McMichael shoots three times. Mr. Arbery then spins around, tries to run and falls to the pavement.

George E. Barnhill, the prosecutor assigned to the case after the first district attorney recused herself because Gregory McMichael had worked in her office, wrote that he did not believe that Mr. Arbery’s killing was a crime.

The McMichaels, he said, had been legally carrying their weapons and believed they were going after a burglary suspect. He also cited the video, which had not yet been shared publicly, and said it showed Travis McMichael acting in self-defense.

In late April, Mr. Barnhill stepped away from the case, also citing a conflict. His son works with the Glynn County district attorney who had recused herself and also had worked with Gregory McMichael. The case then moved to another Georgia district attorney, Tom Durden, who said on May 5 that he would take the case to a grand jury. He also summoned the G.B.I., and about two days later, the McMichaels were arrested.

Lawyers for the McMichaels said their clients maintained their innocence, and said many questions loomed over the fatal confrontation between them and Mr. Arbery. “Right now, we are starting at the end,” Jason Sheffield, a lawyer for Travis McMichael, recently told reporters. “We know the ending. What we don’t know is the beginning.”

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The arrest of Mr. Bryan, who was being held in the Glynn County jail on Friday, came as calls for his prosecution intensified in recent days. Those pushing for his arrest have said Mr. Bryan was considered a participant long before the video was shared online. He had been mentioned in the police report of the killing, which was based largely on a Glynn County police officer’s interview with Gregory McMichael, and in a letter Mr. Barnhill wrote to the police.

But Mr. Bryan, who is known by his nickname Roddie, has contended that he had played an instrumental role in shining a light on Mr. Arbery’s death. “If there wasn’t a tape, then we wouldn’t know what happened,” he said in an interview with CNN.

In a statement this week, Mr. Bryan’s lawyer said his client’s association to the McMichaels was essentially limited to them being neighbors. He added that Mr. Bryan and his fiancée had lost their jobs because of the case and were in hiding after receiving threats.

“There are few things more difficult for a criminal defense lawyer to do” than put “blind faith” in a prosecutor he does not know, Mr. Gough said in the statement, which he emailed to reporters late on Monday night.

“But,” he went on, “Roddie and I trust that District Attorney Joyette Holmes and G.B.I. director Vic Reynolds will — in the fullness of time — do the right thing.”

By Wednesday, Ms. Holmes and Mr. Reynolds decided that investigators had assembled enough evidence to establish probable cause and bring Mr. Bryan into custody.

Richard Fausset contributed reporting from Atlanta.

Ahmaud Arbery’s alleged killers scheduled for preliminary hearing .
Arbery, 25, was fatally shot on Feb. 23 as he jogged around a neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia — about 78 miles south of Savannah. This image from video posted on Twitter Tuesday, May 5, 2020, purports to show Ahmaud Arbery stumbling and falling to the ground after being shot as Travis McMichael stands by holding a shotgun in a neighborhood outside Brunswick, Ga., on Feb. 23. It took until last month for the McMichaels to be charged with felony murder, and Bryan, who filmed Arbery jogging prior to his death, wasn’t charged until last week.

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