VOW OF JUS­TICE ‘Bro­ken com­mu­nity’ ral­lies be­hind Ar­bery kin

New York Daily News - - CORONAVIRU­S OUTBREAK - BY JES­SICA SCHLADEBEC­K

Af­ter weeks of na­tional back­lash and three ar­rests, au­thor­i­ties in Ge­or­gia on Fri­day promised jus­tice for Ah­maud Ar­bery, an un­armed black man fa­tally shot while jog­ging in a sub­ur­ban neigh­bor­hood.

“We are go­ing to make sure we find jus­tice in this case,” Cobb County District At­tor­ney Joyette Holmes told re­porters at a morn­ing press con­fer­ence. “We know we have a bro­ken fam­ily and a bro­ken com­mu­nity.”

Agents with the Ge­or­gia Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion on Thurs­day ar­rested Wil­liam “Rod­die” Bryan Jr. in the killing. The 50-year-old sus­pect, who is fac­ing a count of felony mur­der and crim­i­nal at­tempt to com­mit false im­pris­on­ment, is the third per­son to be charged in the Fe­bru­ary slay­ing.

Bryan recorded the deadly en­counter be­tween Travis McMichael, his fa­ther, Gre­gory McMichael, and Ar­bery. The video sparked out­rage and protests upon its re­lease ear­lier this month. It shows Ar­bery jog­ging along a res­i­den­tial street in Brunswick, pur­sued by two white men who ap­pear to try and stop him as he passes their ve­hi­cle.

Three gun­shots were heard be­fore the 25-year-old vic­tim fell to the ground.

Vic Reynolds, di­rec­tor of the GBI, said the agency had enough ev­i­dence to sup­port a felony mur­der charge against Bryan, even though he doesn’t ap­peared to have fired the weapon that killed Ar­bery.

“I can tell you if we be­lieved he was a wit­ness, we would not have ar­rested him,” Reynolds said Fri­day, while de­clin­ing to pro­vide ad­di­tional de­tails.

The video, which Bryan leaked on so­cial me­dia, ul­ti­mately re­sulted in the ar­rests of both McMichaels on May 9, nearly two months af­ter the mur­der was com­mit­ted.

Ar­bery was jog­ging in Brunswick, a coastal city lo­cated be­tween Jack­sonville and Sa­van­nah, when he was shot and killed by 30-year-old Travis McMichael. McMichael’s fa­ther, who was in the bed of the pickup dur­ing the shoot­ing, told au­thor­i­ties they be­lieved Ar­bery was a bur­glar and that they’d tried to help po­lice catch him ear­lier in the day.

Bryan claimed he was work­ing in his yard on the day of the at­tack when he spot­ted an un­known man be­ing fol­lowed by a pickup truck he rec­og­nized. Bryan be­gan film­ing, and got into his truck to fol­low the chase, he said.

He has re­peat­edly de­nied any in­volve­ment in the shoot­ing.

The Ar­bery fam­ily at­tor­ney, how­ever, called for Bryan’s ar­rest ear­lier this week, al­leg­ing that he as­sisted the McMichaels in the killing.

“The ev­i­dence in­di­cates that he blocked Ah­maud with his truck and al­lowed two other men to am­bush and kill him,” the at­tor­ney said.

A re­cently re­leased ar­rest af­fi­davit backs that claim.

“The ac­cused did at­tempt to con­fine and de­tain Ah­maud Ar­bery with­out le­gal author­ity, by at­tempt­ing to con­fine Ar­bery uti­liz­ing his ve­hi­cle on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions dur­ing the above time frame, with the in­ten­tion of con­fin­ing and de­tain­ing Ar­bery,” it reads.

Reynolds said he does not an­tic­i­pate any ad­di­tional mur­der ar­rests, adding in­ves­ti­ga­tors have only a “few more things” to do in the course of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

All three sus­pects re­mained be­hind bars on Fri­day.

Ah­maud Ar­bery’s im­age is printed on a mask worn by a pro­tester. Ge­or­gia au­thor­i­ties have ar­rested three men in the slay­ing of the un­armed black man in Fe­bru­ary.

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