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William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the man who recorded the deadly February shooting of Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery, has been arrested on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation [GBI] announced Thursday night.
Bryan will be booked into the Glynn County jail.
The death of Arbery, an unarmed black man, was thrust into the national spotlight after cellphone video recorded by Bryan surfaced on social media, prompting outrage against local law enforcement.
For over 10 weeks after the Feb. 23 shooting, the investigation idled as the Glynn County Police Department largely looked the other way, critics said. Calls for justice grew after the video was leaked.
Bryan, the 50-year-old neighbor of Gregory and Travis McMichael, a white father and son accused of murdering Arbery, has changed his story multiple times since the video of the shooting came out. However, he has always maintained his innocence.
Earlier this week, Bryan’s attorney Kevin Gough claimed his client had no communication with the McMichaels the day of the shooting, a statement contradicted by the official police report.
“If there was a lynch mob or posse, Mr. Bryan was unaware of it,” Gough told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Bryan initially claimed he was being a good Samaritan by recording Arbery’s death, though that description quickly came under scrutiny.
“He is a liar,” Lee Merritt, an attorney hired by Arbery’s mother, told Fox News, adding that Bryan’s story had changed from saying he was trying to trap Arbery to now “launching a campaign to clear his name.”
“If he was a good Samaritan, he would have honked his horn. It’s worth noting that on the video, he doesn’t even flinch. He doesn’t gasp. Shot after shot. He simply takes it all in,” Merritt said.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, also told Fox News she wasn’t buying the “good neighbor” defense.
“Why would you videotape it? Why didn’t he do anything to help? Why didn’t he reach out right after the shooting? Why did he only come forward after the video was leaked?” she said during a telephone interview.
Following the announcement of Bryan’s arrest, a group of attorneys hired by Arbery’s family said, “(Bryan’s) involvement in the murder of Mr. Arbery was obvious to us, to many around the country and after their thorough investigation, it was clear to the GBI as well.”