Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney representing the father of Ahmaud Arbery, called for Georgia police to arrest the man who filmed Arbery being shot and killed.
More than two months after Arbery was shot dead while jogging in a neighborhood outside Brunswick, Georgia, police arrested two men, Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and charged them with murder and aggravated assault. Arbery was killed on February 23 after being chased by the two armed men in a pickup truck and getting into a fistfight.
Crump — who rose to fame for his involvement in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown‘s deaths — published two photos of the man who police say filmed the fatal incident, calling for his arrest.
This is William "Roddie" Bryan – who we believe may have been the third person in pursuit of #AhmaudArbery. If he chased down Ahmaud and filmed his execution, he should be arrested and charged with aiding and abetting them in committing this crime of murder. #RunWithMaud pic.twitter.com/Fjqp0jO1Xo
— Benjamin Crump, Esq. (@AttorneyCrump) May 7, 2020
“This is William ‘Roddie’ Bryan – who we believe may have been the third person in pursuit of #AhmaudArbery,” Crump wrote on social media. “If he chased down Ahmaud and filmed his execution, he should be arrested and charged with aiding and abetting them in committing this crime of murder.”
Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill wrote in an internal memo that Bryan recorded the deadly incident.
“The video made by William Bryan clearly shows the shooting in realtime,” Barnhill wrote to the Glynn County police department.
“Bryan is listed at an address just a few houses down from where Travis McMichael is listed, near where the shooting took place,” USA Today notes.
Alan Tucker, an attorney based in Coastal Georgia, said in a statement that he published the video to bring “absolute transparency because my community was being ripped apart by erroneous accusations and assumptions.”
“There had been very little information provided by the police department or the district attorney’s office, but there was entirely too much speculation, rumor, false narratives, and outright lies surrounding this event,” Tucker added.
Tucker also noted he is not representing anyone involved in the case and obtained the video from the individual who filmed it on their cell phone — but did not name Bryan as that person.
The video, shot from a vehicle trailing Arbery who is jogging along a street on a sunny day, shows Arbery confronted by the younger McMichael armed with what appears to be a shotgun. A shot is fired. The two men are seen fighting. Another shot is fired and the video ends.
According to a police report, the elder McMichael told police following the shooting that they thought Arbery looked like someone who was suspected of committing a series of break-ins in the area and chased after him. Travis fired his weapon in self-defense after Arbery attacked him, Gregory told police.
The autopsy showed that Arbery was shot three times.
Waycross District Attorney George Barnhill, who was initially assigned to the case, said in a letter that he did not bring charges against the three men as they were in “hot pursuit” of a burglary suspect with “solid first-hand probable cause.”
He said the video is proof that the shooting was in self-defense.
“Given the fact Arbery initiated the fight, at the point Arbery grabbed the shotgun, under Georgia Law, McMichael was allowed to use deadly force to protect himself,” he wrote.
Barnhill recused himself from the case after Arbery’s mother said there was a conflict of interest, as the elder McMichael had retired from another district attorney’s office.
S. Lee Merritt, a lawyer for the Arbery family, said via Twitter after the video surfaced that it confirms Arbery was pursued by three white men who targeted him “solely because of his race and murdered him without justification.”
“This is murder,” Merritt said.
The video sparked outrage among the public, activists, and NBA basketball star LeBron James, who tweeted about Arbery’s death, offering his condolences, prayers, and anger against the alleged injustice of the shooting.
The UPI contributed to this report.