Georgia man who filmed his neighbors shooting and killing Ahmaud Arbery is pictured in his mugshot
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 arrested him’ as the newly-released warrant claims he used his vehicle ‘on multiple occasions’ to try to block the unarmed black jogger in the road.
Speaking at a press conference at the GBI’s DeKalb County headquarters Friday, director Vic Reynolds dismissed previous claims made by William ‘Roddie’ Bryan Jr. that he was merely a ‘witness’ and not an accomplice in Arbery’s killing.
‘If he was a witness we wouldn’t have arrested him,’ Reynolds said.
‘We believe his underlying felony helped cause the death of Ahmaud Arbery,’ he said, adding that the GBI is ‘confident [prosecutors] will be able to prove that’.
He added that the GBI had collected more video footage of the shooting which would be revealed when the case goes to trial.
Reynolds gave an update on what marked the 16th day since the GBI stepped in and took over the case after shocking footage – shot by Bryan – emerged of Arbery, 25, being gunned down in a street in Brunswick, Georgia back in February.
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Georgia man William ‘Roddy’ Bryan who filmed his two white neighbors shooting and killing Ahmaud Arbery is pictured in his mugshot. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said if he was merely a witness ‘then we wouldn’t have arrested him’ as his arrest warrant claims he used his vehicle ‘on multiple occasions’ to try to block the unarmed black jogger in the road
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault earlier this month for Arbery’s shooting death.
The GBI announced Thursday it had also arrested Bryan, 50, on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
If found guilty, Bryan could face the death penalty or life in prison for the felony murder charge and up to 10 years jail time for the false imprisonment charge.
Bryan was pictured Friday in his mugshot after his arrest.
Reynolds said Bryan was arrested around 5.30pm. Thursday, and was turned over to the Glynn County Sheriff’s Department and booked into the local county jail.
William ‘Roddie’ Bryan (left), a neighbor of the father and son who killed Ahmaud Arbery (right), who filmed the shooting in Satilla Shores, Georgia
‘Once we start turning over stones, there are a few stones underneath that we start to turn over,’ he explained about the move to arrest Bryan in connection to Arbery’s death.
‘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.’
Reynolds said authorities had additional video evidence to support the arrest.
‘We have accumulated a number of pieces of video in the case… eventually that will come out in a court of law,’ he said.
Gregory (left) and Travis McMichael (right) have both been charged with murder and aggravated assault over the February 23 shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
THE CHARGES WILLIAM ‘RODDY’ BRYAN JR FACES
The man who filmed the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery was arrested on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Here are the charges explained:
Criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment
Definition: When someone arrests, confines, or detains another person without legal authority.
Bryan’s charge: The arrest warrant, obtained by DailyMail.com, says Bryan tried to block and hold Arbery in the road using his vehicle ‘on multiple occasions’. It claims Bryan ‘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’.
Maximum sentence: 10 years
Definition: In Georgia, if someone commits a serious felony and someone else dies during or because of that felony they can be charged with felony murder.
Bryan’s charge: Bryan’s attempts to falsely imprison Arbery in the road helped to cause his death, according to the GBI. GBI Director Vic Reynolds said: ‘Felony murder is a crime in Georgia if the crime ends in the death of another human being… we believe his underlying felony helped cause the death of Ahmaud Arbery and we’re confident they’ll be able to prove that.’
Maximum sentence: Death or life in prison
When asked if Bryan had used his truck to block Arbery in the road, Reynolds stopped short of confirming these reports but directed the public to the arrest warrant.
‘Look to the warrant on false imprisonment – it speaks for itself,’ he said.
DailyMail.com has obtained the two arrest warrants for the charges.
They claim that Bryan tried to block and hold Arbery in the road using his vehicle ‘on multiple occasions’.
Bryan ‘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 for criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment says.
This contradicts claims previously made by Bryan’s attorney that he was only a ‘witness’ and that the crime simply ‘start[ed] happening in front of him’.
The warrant for felony murder says Bryan helped to cause Arbery’s death by trying to falsely imprison him.
The two warrants, provided by the GBI, appear to have been corrected, with Travis McMichael’s name typed in the space of the defendant and then scribbled out in pen with William Bryan’s name put in its place.
Reynolds refused to confirm or deny Friday whether it was Bryan who made the initial 911 call reporting Arbery’s shooting to police back in February.
‘I won’t answer that yet – again the warrants indicate what we believe,’ he said.
‘And if he was the one who contacted police, I’m sure the DA’s office will introduce that in evidence at the right time.’
The GBI does not expect to make any further murder arrests at this time, he added.
The arrest warrant for William Bryan on the charge of felony murder
The arrest warrant for William Bryan on the charge of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment
Reynolds also thanked the victim’s family for their ‘patience’ over the case, after Arbery’s killers were able to walk free for more than two months after his death.
Joyette Holmes, District Attorney of the Cobb Judicial Circuit and the woman now tasked with prosecuting the case, also said she had been in contact with the victim’s family.
‘We know we have a broken family and community,’ she said.
‘We will make sure we find justice in this case.’
The GBI warned earlier this month that Bryan could also face arrest for his part in the murder after he watched and shot the footage of the attack.
The victim’s family have repeatedly called for him to face charges in connection with Arbery’s death.
Speaking at a press conference at the GBI’s DeKalb County headquarters Friday, director Vic Reynolds (pictured) dismissed previous claims made by William ‘Roddie’ Bryan Jr. that he was merely a ‘witness’ and not an accomplice to Arbery’s killing
Bryan lives just a few houses away from the McMichaels, close to where the killing took place.
On Tuesday, Bryan took a lie detector test to show he was unarmed at the shooting, was not part of plans to kill and did not speak to the McMichaels on the day of the shooting before Arbery’s death, his attorney Kevin Gough said.
The test will not be admissible in court.
Bryan broke his silence earlier in the month via his lawyer to insist he was only a ‘witness’ to Arbery’s slaying and not an accomplice.
Bryan claimed there had been a ‘number of crimes in the neighborhood in recent weeks’ – despite cops saying there were no burglaries reported in the two months leading up to the young man’s death.
Gough also said the shooting simply ‘start[ed] happening in front of him’ and Bryan had handed over the footage to police ‘immediately’ after the incident.
He told Weekend TODAY Bryan had arrived at the scene after he saw Arbery running through the neighborhood and being pursued by the McMichaels in their truck.
‘He was in his yard and this just starts happening in front of him,’ said Gough. ‘He gets in his car and is trying to document that.’
When asked why Bryan followed and filmed the attack, his attorney said ‘he was trying to get [Arbery’s] picture… because there had been a number of crimes in this neighborhood and he didn’t recognize him and a vehicle that he did recognize was following him.’
‘From day one Mr Bryan has fully cooperated with law enforcement officers investigating this matter,’ he said in the First Coast News footage.
Gough said Bryan handed the cellphone footage to police as soon as officers arrived on the scene.
Bryan ‘disclosed the existence of the videotape and invited a responding Glynn County police officer to sit with him in his truck where they watched the video together,’ Gough said.
Harrowing video showed the men ‘ambushing’ Arbery as he tried to run past their pickup truck
‘Mr Bryan went home and came back out to the crime scene shortly after at the request of law enforcement to further assist them and then later Mr Bryan voluntarily went to the Glynn County Police Department where he answered all the questions they had for him without a lawyer during a lengthy interview.’
Gough branded reports that Bryan had a firearm with him when he arrived on the scene ‘irresponsible’ and insisted he was ‘unarmed’.
Arbery was shot dead while out jogging on February 23 by the McMichaels.
The killers evaded prosecution for more than two months, after the father and son team initially claimed they thought Arbery was a burglar after a spate of thefts in the area, and that he attacked them when they tried to make a citizen’s arrest.
The shocking cellphone footage – taken by Bryan – was then leaked by the McMichaels’ lawyers who had hoped it would clear the duo as they claim they fought back in self-defense.
The video shows the McMichaels chasing and gunning down the victim in the street.
The harrowing video showed the men ‘ambushing’ Arbery as he tried to run past their pickup truck.
Exclusive photos show the moment Gregory McMichael (pictured) and his son Travis McMichael were arrested at their home in Brunswick, Georgia, on May 7
An officer with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is seen leading 34-year-old Travis McMichael out of the home in handcuffs
The leak of the video sparked outrage across the nation with LeBron James, Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner all leading cries for the McMichaels to be charged with murder.
The GBI took over the investigation from the Glynn County Police and the McMichaels were finally arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault on May 7.
Officers carried out a search of their home on Tuesday evening including vehicles parked outside and a boat dock in the backyard.
Glynn County Police and several local prosecutors have come under fire over their handling of the case.
Arbery is pictured right with his mom Wanda Jones, The lawyer for Ahmaud Arbery’s family said the 25-year-old was chased for four minutes before being gunned down
Ahmaud Arbery and his mother Wanda Cooper Jones
The police force has been plagued by allegations of corruption going back years, with a damning report in 2019 unearthing what it described as an ‘ongoing culture of cover-up’ at the department.
New police bodycam footage then emerged this week showing officers trying to use a taser on Arbery while his hands were up and he was unarmed back in 2017, which lawyers for Arbery’s family say suggests he was being harassed by the authorities.
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 remain jailed in Glynn County waiting for a preliminary court hearing and for a judge to decide whether to free them on bond pending trial.
A bond hearing has not yet been scheduled for the McMichaels.