BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The man who recorded the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia is receiving threats after authorities announced that he’s also being investigated following the killing, his attorney said.
The man, William “Roddie” Bryan, shared the 36-second video with police and was cooperating with investigators, his attorney Kevin Gough said in a statement Friday.
“It was Mr. Bryan who videotaped the incident in question, 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.
The video appears to show the confrontation between Arbery and two men before the shooting that left Arbery dead in Brunswick.
The men — Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, — were arrested Thursday and face charges of murder and aggravated assault in Arbery’s February 23 killing, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The footage was a “very important piece of evidence,” GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Friday. Asked whether there will be additional arrests, Reynolds told reporters the investigation is still active.
“We investigate everybody involved in the case, including the individual who shot the video,” he said.
The comments by authorities have put Bryan’s life in danger, along with his family, friends and neighbors, his attorney said in a statement. He added that his client has lost his job, despite committing no crime and cooperating with the investigation.
In an interview with CNN Saturday, Gough, Bryan’s attorney, said his client was not acting in conjunction with the McMichaels the day of the shooting.
Bryan was doing yard work when he saw an unfamiliar man being chased by a car he recognized as being from the neighborhood, Gough said.
Bryan filmed the incident and shared the video with police when they arrived on the scene. Later, he went to a police station so authorities could access and download the footage, Gough said.
Bryan and the McMichaels did not have a relationship, Gough said, besides being neighbors and one point when Gregory McMichael brought lawnmowers to the shop where Bryan worked.
Any implication that his client was a vigilante, Gough said, was inaccurate.
“Mr. Bryan videotaped what was going on and because he did that there is a prosecution,” Gough said. “If he had not videotaped that incident, the only person who really could speak to what happened is dead and we’ll never have that opportunity. That video is the prosecution.”
The GBI is reviewing additional video and photographs as part of the investigation, it announced Saturday in a news release.
The footage, which the GBI did not describe, was reviewed prior to the arrests of Gregory and Travis McMichael, the GBI said.
Two men arrested in Arbery shooting
The McMichaels allegedly chased down Arbery in a pickup truck, believing he was a suspect in a string of burglaries, according to a police report.
Gregory McMichael told police his son shot Arbery after the latter allegedly attacked him as he stood in the road with a shotgun, according to the police report.
CNN’s attempts to reach Gregory and Travis McMichael have been unsuccessful.
According to an April 7 letter from Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill, who has since recused himself from the case, his son and McMichael helped with an earlier prosecution of Arbery when they both worked for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. Barnhill’s letter, sent to the office of Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, did not specify what the prior prosecution was for or when it took place.
The Brunswick News has reported Arbery was indicted for allegedly bringing a gun to a 2013 high school basketball game when he was 19. Family attorney Lee Merritt has acknowledged Arbery’s 2018 arrest on shoplifting charges. But any reference to “alleged conduct from high school or shoplifting is absurd and has nothing to do with his murder.”
Those who knew Arbery said the former high school football player often jogged through the neighborhoods southwest of Brunswick.
“I just want people to know that he was a very good young man and he loved the people and I just want people to remember him as a good-hearted young man,” his father, Marcus Arbery Sr., said Friday on what would have been his son’s 26th birthday. “To see him just get lynched like that by a racial mob is devastating to our family.”