The United States man who filmed mobile phone video footage of Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal shooting in the state of Georgia was arrested Thursday and charged with murder in his death.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said 50-year-old William “Roddie” Bryan was arrested on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Arbery, an unarmed black man, was killed on February 23 after a white father and son armed themselves and pursued him after spotting the 25-year-old man running in their neighbourhood. More than two months passed before authorities arrested Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault.
Bryan lives in the same subdivision, and the video he took from the cab of his vehicle helped stir a national outcry when it leaked online. Bryan’s lawyer, Kevin Gough, did not immediately return a phone message.
Gregory McMichael, a retired investigator for the local district attorney, told police he thought Arbery was a burglar. He said Arbery attacked his son before he was shot.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, has said she believes her son was merely out jogging.
The delay in criminal charges and a mobile phone video of the shooting leaked shortly before the May 7 arrests fuelled national outrage over Arbery’s death, with many saying he was targeted because he was black.
Last week, defence lawyers for the McMichaels cautioned against rushing to judgment. They said they soon plan to seek a preliminary hearing from a magistrate judge in Glynn County – a hearing at which new details might be revealed.
Gregory McMichael worked as an investigator for the local district attorney for more than two decades before he retired last year.
Lawyers for Arbery’s family and others have blamed the delay in arrests in part on the elder McMichael’s ties to local law enforcement. The McMichaels were not charged until after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was brought into the case in early May.
Meanwhile, three district attorneys have passed on prosecuting the case, which now resides with the district attorney of Cobb County in metro Atlanta.