ATLANTA (CN) — The Georgia man who filmed the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in February has been arrested and charged with murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday evening.
William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr., 50, is the third person to be arrested in the Feb. 23 shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.
Bryan witnessed and recorded the encounter between Arbery, who is black, and two white men in a residential neighborhood outside Brunswick, Georgia that ended with Arbery’s death.
The 36-second cell phone video showed Travis McMichael, 34, and his father, retired police detective Gregory McMichael, 64, confronting Arbery with guns as he jogged through the neighborhood. The two men chased Arbery in a white pick-up truck because, they said, they thought he had committed a burglary.
The video showed a struggle between an unarmed Arbery and Travis McMichael, who was wielding a shotgun. Three gunshots can be heard before Arbery falls to the ground.
Arbery’s family has said he was simply exercising at the time of his death.
The footage was released online this month and quickly went viral, sparking protests and national outrage at authorities who failed to make any arrests in the case.
On May 7, the McMichaels were both arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault and booked into the Glynn County Jail.
The GBI, which is conducting the investigation into Arbery’s death, said Bryan will also be booked into the jail Thursday.
Bryan and his attorney, Kevin Gough, have made several television appearances to deny any involvement with the McMichaels.
In an interview with CBS affiliate WJAX-TV, Bryan denied any role in Arbery’s death.
“I had nothing to do with it. I’m trying to get my life back to normal, and it’s been smeared for the last week,” Bryan said. “I was told I was a witness and I’m not sure what I am, other than receiving a bunch of threats.”
Gough said earlier this week that his client had voluntarily taken a polygraph test that confirmed he was not involved in the shooting.
In a statement released Thursday, attorneys for Arbery’s mother and father said the family is “relieved” to learn of Bryan’s arrest.
“We called for his arrest from the very beginning of this process. His 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,” they said. “The family of Mr. Arbery is thankful for the diligence of the GBI and the way in which they tirelessly pursued the evidence in this case. We want anyone who participated in the murder of Mr. Arbery to be held accountable.”