William 'Roddie' Bryan tried to block and detain Ahmaud Arbery with his vehicle and was not just a witness: GBI
Bryan Jr, who was arrested for being involved in the shooting, has maintained that he was just a witness to the killing
Shortly after the arrest of William 'Roddie' Bryan Jr., the neighbor who filmed Ahmaud Arbery's fatal shooting, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) suggested that he was not merely a witness to the murder. The bureau, in a statement, said that they "wouldn't have arrested" Bryan if he was not involved in Arbery's fatal shooting.
Father and son duo, 64-year-old Gregory McMichael — a former police officer — and 34-year-old Travis McMichael, shot 25-year-old Arbery dead on February 23 on a Brunswick street in broad daylight while he was jogging. The pair reportedly suspected him to be a burglar running around the neighborhood. Arbery was shot at least twice and was reported dead on the scene. The killing was captured on video by Bryan who was trailing Arbery in a car. Bryan, however, has maintained that he was just a witness of the shooting. After the video of the assault was recently released on social media, the incident sparked a widespread racial outcry in the country and has led many to question why the suspects were arrested only after the outrage. No arrests were made in the case for over two months.
GBI director Vic Reynolds, while speaking at a press conference at the bureau's DeKalb County headquarters on Friday, May 22, dismissed Bryan's claims of being merely a "witness" and not an accomplice in Arbery's killing, the Daily Mail reported."If he was a witness we wouldn't have arrested him," the director said.
"We believe his underlying felony helped cause the death of Ahmaud Arbery," Reynolds said, adding that the GBI is "confident [prosecutors] will be able to prove that."
The Bureau head also said that the GBI had collected more video footage of the shooting, which would soon be revealed when the case goes to trial. The GBI, on Thursday, May 21, had announced that 50-year-old Brian has also been charged in Arbery's murder with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Reports state that if he is found guilty, he could face the death penalty or life in prison for the felony murder charge and up to 10 years of imprisonment.
"Once we start turning over stones, there are a few stones underneath that we start to turn over," Reynolds said, explaining why Bryan was arrested now. "On Wednesday afternoon or evening we reached the point that we were convinced probable cause existed to make those charges. It wasn’t a proverbial moment of epiphany it was an accumulation of various things."
The director said: "We have accumulated a number of pieces of video in the case... eventually that will come out in a court of law." Bryan's arrest warrant, obtained by the outlet, stated that he attempted to block and hold Arbery in the road using his vehicle "on multiple occasions."
The 50-year-old "did attempt to confine and detain Ahmaud Arbery without legal authority, by attempting to confine Arbery utilizing his vehicle on multiple occasions... with the intention of confining and detaining Arbery," the warrant stated, standing in contrast to Bryan's earlier claims of just being a "witness" to the murder.