Man who filmed fatal shooting of black runner charged with murder

A Georgia man who filmed mobile phone video of Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal shooting has been charged with murder.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said 50-year-old William “Roddie” Bryan was arrested on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. No other details were given.

The GBI said that it would hold a news conference on Friday morning.

Mr Arbery was killed on February 23 when a white father and son armed themselves and pursued him after spotting the 25-year-old black man running in their neighbourhood.

More than two months passed before authorities arrested Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault.

Gregory McMichael told police he suspected Mr Arbery was a burglar and that Mr Arbery attacked his son before being shot.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Gregory McMichael, left, and his son Travis have been charged with murder (Glynn County Detention Center via AP, File)</figcaption>
Gregory McMichael, left, and his son Travis have been charged with murder (Glynn County Detention Center via AP, File)

Bryan lives in the same subdivision just outside the port city of Brunswick, and the video he took from the cab of his vehicle helped stir a national outcry when it leaked online.

Bryan’s attorney Kevin Gough has previously insisted Bryan played no role in Mr Arbery’s death.

“Roddie Bryan is not now, and has never been, more than a witness to the shooting,” Mr Gough said in a statement on 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.”

Bryan’s video of the shooting was taken from the driver’s seat of a vehicle following behind Mr Arbery as he runs along a residential street. A pick-up truck is parked in the road ahead of Mr Arbery, with one man in the truck’s bed and another standing beside the open driver’s side door.

The video shows Mr Arbery run around the truck to the right before he cuts back in front of it. Then a gunshot can be heard, followed by a second shot.

Mr Arbery can be seen punching a man holding what appears to be a shotgun, who then fires a third shot point-blank. Mr Arbery staggers and falls face down in the street.

Gregory McMichael retired last year after more than two decades as an investigator for the local prosecutor’s office. Because of those ties, Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson recused herself from the case. Two outside prosecutors assigned the case have also stepped aside.

The McMichaels were not arrested until May 7, after the GBI took over the shooting investigation from Glynn County police.

Soon after the GBI’s involvement was announced, a Brunswick attorney with access to the shooting video released it to a local radio station — and copies soon proliferated online.

The McMichaels remain in jail in Glynn County waiting for a preliminary court hearing and for a judge to decide whether to free them on bond pending trial. Attorneys for the father and son have urged people not to rush to judgment in the case.

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