VOW OF JUSTICE ‘Broken community’ rallies behind Arbery kin
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.