The man who filmed the fatal shooting of unarmed jogger Ahmaud Arbery is speaking out after calls were made for his arrest.
Gregory and Travis McMichael were already arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for the killing of Arbery in Bruswick, Georgia back in February. The GBI also said they would be investigating William “Roddie” Bryan for his part in recording the video, however, Bryan is claiming his innocence to the killing.
Action News Jax reporter Bridgette Matter talked with Bryan and his fiancée at his home on Sunday and he said that he was “shocked” by what he recored.
“Complete shock,” he said. “I’ve never been involved in anything like that before.”
The video Bryan recorded that went viral shows the McMichaels’ truck stopped in front of Arbery who clearly tries to run around the passenger’s side of the vehicle. However, Travis confronts Arbery and the two struggle with his shotgun before a gunshot is heard. The struggle continues when a second shot is heard. The whole time, a man who seems to be Gregory McDonald is standing in the back trunk of the truck and also appears to have a weapon in hand. The clip ends with a third shot and Ahmaud tries to run away before tumbling to the ground with fatal injuries. The McMichael’s pursued Arbery in a truck because they believed he was a neighborhood burglar.
The initial police report said that Bryan “attempted to block him, which was unsuccessful.” However, Bryan denies this aspect of the report. “I had nothing to do with it,” he said. “I’m trying to get my life back to normal, and it’s been smeared for the last week. I was told I was a witness and I’m not sure what I am, other than receiving a bunch of threats.”
Bryan said he hasn’t “felt safe in at least 3-to-5 days now,” because of threats he’s been getting over Arbery’s death. He said his fiancée and him are now living out of their car because they fear for their lives. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t scared. If that’s what they wanted to do was scare me, they’ve scared me,” Bryan said.
Activist Shaun King called Bryan an “accessory to murder” not too long after the video went viral last week.
“What we now know is that Roddie and the McMichael’s chased Ahmaud down BEFORE the video began then boxed him with one truck behind him, while the McMichael’s then sped ahead of Ahmaud, parked their truck in the road, and got out with their guns,” King said in an Instagram post. “If Ahmaud turned around, he would be shot by Roddie. They had Ahmaud trapped. And notice, they weren’t saying anything about a citizen’s arrest. They didn’t say that for weeks. They don’t say that in the video. This was an armed lynch mob.”
Lawyer S. Lee Merritt, who’s backing Arbery’s family, echoed King’s sentiments. “A lot of people have asked why I keep saying THREE suspects. Here is the third,” he tweeted along with a screen capture of King’s post. “Thanks @shaunking! Arrest all three of these men who conspired and murdered #AhmaudArbery.”
Another lawyer for Arbery’s family, Benjamin Crump, also wrote in a tweet last week, “William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, accomplice to Gregory and Travis McMichael, must now be arrested. We urge officers to do so tonight.”
Question still arise as to why Bryan was present during the shooting in the first place. Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, wouldn’t let his client answer, citing the pending investigation.
“My client was responding to what he saw, which was someone in the community he didn’t know being followed by a vehicle he recognized. Without going into details about the level of crime in this community in this subdivision, I think most people in this subdivision were aware that there were issues,” Gough said.
The Bryans’ attorney is expecting the GBI to provide him with more information this week on whether Bryan will still be apart of the investigation.