Bodycam footage contradicts William Bryan Jr’s denial of complicity, as it shows him telling police he repeatedly tried to block unarmed black jogger Ahmaud Arbery, setting him up to be shot dead by neighbors – Gregory and Travis McMichael
His words in he newly emerging police interview contradict statements from Travis Bryan Jr., who is insisting that he had ‘nothing to do with’ the killing of Ahmaud Arbery
Bodycam footage shows Bryan Jr. who filmed Ahmaud Arbery’s murder telling police he repeatedly tried to block the escape of the unarmed black jogger before he was shot dead by a father and son
William ‘Roddie’ Bryan Jr is seen speaking to police moments after Ahmaud Arbery was killed on February 23 in bodycam footage released Monday
Bryan Jr. describes joining neighbor Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael in chasing down Arbery as he ran through their neighborhood in Brunswick, GA on Feb 23
‘I pulled out of my driveway and was going to try to block him,’ he says
Bryan Jr and both McMichaels are facing murder charges in Arbery’s death
Their pursuit of Arbery ended with Travis McMichael shooting the jogger with a shot gun at point blank range, as seen in cellphone footage recorded by Bryan Jr.
The neighbor who claimed he only filmed a Georgia father and son vigilante team murder Ahmaud Arbery, admitted to police that he tried to block the unarmed black jogger’s path before he was shot dead by a father and son duo, new footage shows.Warning: Graphic Content Fatal Brunswick shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
In a body camera video obtained by Action News Jax on Monday, William ‘Roddie’ Bryan Jr. volunteers that he impeded the escape bid of Arbery.
He is seen speaking to officers moments after the 25-year-old was gunned down by Gregory and Travis McMichael in Georgia in February.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were charged in with murder and aggravated assault for the shooting death of unarmed Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23.
Bryan Jr and both McMichaels are facing murder charges in death of Arbery a 25-year-old Black man.
Prosecutors say the three men, who are white, chased the victim after they spotted him running through their neighborhood just outside Brunswick.
The pursuit ended with Travis opening fire on Arbery, as seen in cellphone footage recorded by Travis Bryan Jr.
The new bodycam video shows Bryan Jr retelling his version of events to officers who arrived at the scene and admitting that he was more than just a witness.
Bryan Jr it was who made the cellphone recording of the moment 25-year-old Arbery was shot and killed by Travis and Gregory McMichael in the Satilla Shores neighborhood on February 23.
The video begins with an officer approaching Bryan Jr by his truck and asking: ‘Okay, so you’re a passerby coming through?’
‘Nah, not necessarily,’ Bryan Jr replies.
He goes on to describe seeing Arbery running by followed by the McMichaels in their white truck and says he suspected that Arbery may have been trying to break into people’s homes.
He said he yelled out to the McMichaels, asking: ‘Do y’all got him?’ as Arbery continued running down a street.
‘I pulled out of my driveway and was going to try to block him,’ Bryan Jr says. ‘But he was going all around – I made a few moves at him, you know, and he didn’t stop.’
The bodycam cuts off there with Action News Jax cutting to its own video of May interview with Bryan Jr before he was formally charged, in which he tells a reporter: ‘Truthfully, I need to be cleared of this because I had nothing to do with it.’
The bodycam video begins with an officer approaching Bryan Jr by his truck and asking: ‘Okay, so you’re a passerby coming through?’ ‘Nah, not necessarily,’ Bryan Jr replies.
Bryan Jr goes on to describe how he tried to block Arbery because he suspected he was trying to break into homes. ‘I made a few moves at him, you know, and he didn’t stop,’ he said.
The bodycam video contradicts what Bryan Jr told Action News Jax during a May interview , where he said: ‘I need to be cleared of this because I had nothing to do with it’.
Bryan Jr’s comments on the bodycam were first brought to light during testimony from a senior investigator on the case at a hearing in Glynn County Court on June 4.
‘[Bryan Jr] made several statements about trying to block [Arbery] in and using his vehicle to try to stop him,’ Richard Dial, the lead investigator for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said under questioning from Travis’s attorney Jason Sheffield.
‘His statement was that Mr Arbery kept jumping out of the way and moving around the bumper and actually running down into the ditch in an attempt to [avoid] his truck.’
Dial said that at one point Bryan Jr struck Arbery with his truck, according to a dent, palm print and cotton fibers on the vehicle.
‘At this point, I would say Mr Arbery was trying to escape,’ Dial said. ‘He’s trying to get away.’
The McMichaels claimed that they began pursuing Arbery because they thought he was a burglar after a spate of thefts in their area, and that he attacked them when they tried to make a citizen’s arrest.
Defense teams for both Travis, 24, and Gregory, 64, have insisted that the men felt threatened by Arbery and that the attack was not racially motivated.
Bryan Jr told police that after Travis fired three shots at Arbery, he stood over his body and shouted: ‘F***ing n*****.’
But the McMichaels’ attorneys say that never happened, and that Bryan Jr was lying because he wanted to protect himself.
‘I think Roddie Bryan is incredibly motivated…to keep himself from becoming a murder defendant in a murder trial,’ Travis’s attorney Sheffield told 48 Hours in October.
Bryan Jr.’s cellphone video captured the moment the McMichaels confronted Arbery in the street.
In the footage Travis is seen engaging in a physical fight with Arbery before shooting him with a shotgun.
Bryan Jr claimed that after Travis shot Arbery he stood over his body and shouted: ‘F***ing n*****.’
However, the McMichaels’ attorneys say Bryan Jr. is lying and that never happened
The McMichaels and Bryan Jr were arrested for Arbery’s murder in May, more than two months after the shooting, after Bryan Jr.’s cellphone video leaked online, sparking national outcry in a year marked by protests over racial injustice.
The video showed the truck stopping in the middle of a residential street and Travis getting out before Arbery tries to run around the vehicle.
Arbery can be seen grappling with Travis over the shotgun and punching him before being shot at point-blank range.
The three defendants were indicted on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Bryan Jr’s attorney has argued in court motions that the entire indictment should be dismissed as he remains jailed until trial, a date for which has not been set.
The McMichaels were denied bond last month after prosecutors argued that they had tried to interfere in the investigation.
The bond ruling followed a marathon two-day hearing in which the defendants brought forth character witnesses to testify that the father and son don’t harbor racist sentiment, while prosecutors introduced explosive text messages, and called on Arbery’s mother to deliver an emotional victim-impact statement.
Prosecutor Jesse Evans showed the court a mysterious coded letter, saying the state had intercepted it in June when Gregory tried to send it from behind bars.
Prosecutors accused Gregory of trying to interfere with the investigation by sending a mysterious coded letter to witness Zachary Langford
The letter was addressed to Zachary Langford, who appeared as a character witness for the defense in one of the hearing’s most memorable moments.
Evans did not reveal whether investigators were able to decode the letter, or offer any suggestion of what message it might contain.
The prosecutor pointed out that letters written in code are forbidden by the Glynn County Jail policies, and argued the letter demonstrated a ‘significant risk of intimidating witnesses and obstructing justice’.
He also argued that it called into question whether Gregory would be ‘willing to follow the rules of the court if bond conditions were imposed on him’.
Langford, who is a friend of Travis McMichael, took the stand and was questioned by the prosecutor about an incendiary text message exchange from November 2019.
Travis Michael texted Zachary Langford about ‘shooting a crackhead c**n with gold teeth with a Hi-Point .45,’ according to the state.
Langford at first said he didn’t recall receiving the message. Then after reviewing a transcript of the exchange, he answered: ‘He was referring to a raccoon, I believe.’
‘A raccoon with gold teeth and a Hi-Point .45?’ the prosecutor asked, referring to the model of pistol. ‘He was being facetious,’ Langford replied.
Evans also cited a photo Langford posted to Facebook last year to which Travis McMichael replied: ‘Sayonara, ch**k f***s,’ using an offensive slur for Asians.
During the hearing defense attorneys argued strenuously that the father and son had any intent to tamper with witnesses or obstruct justice – but Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley was not convinced.
‘The court heard a lot of evidence,’ he said while delivering his ruling.
‘I have to comment on the record on what I found to be an absolutely indefensible explanation from one of the witnesses,’ he continued, referring to Langford’s ‘raccoon’ defense.
Walmsley said that Langford’s statement called into question the rest of his testimony, and ‘potentially other testimony’ from defense witnesses.
He was also concerned, Walmsey said, that Gregory McMichael ‘was willing to place the law in his own hands and felt that he had the ability to influence an ongoing investigation’.
Zachary Langford’s wife Ashley also testified, saying that trigger man Travis McMichael had expressed remorse [about shooting the unarmed man with a shotgun at point blank range].
‘He told me he wished it never happened like that,’ she said.
‘He prayed for Ahmaud’s mother and his family daily.’
The prosecution responded putting Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, on the stand. Her emotional victim impact statement said the McMichaels who are ‘as dangerous today as they were on February 23,’ are ‘proud of what they have done’.
‘They tried to explain that they believed my son was a trespasser… that he was someone engaged in a criminal enterprise,’ Cooper-Jones said.
The defendants believe ‘their defense of grabbing their guns, chasing, boxing my son in with their vehicles, pursuing him and eventually shooting him to death, ripping his body into pieces’ was ‘the right thing to do’.
I believe ‘if given the opportunity both men would do the same again’.
Cooper-Jones spoke of her grief as authorities continued to find ‘pieces of her son’ in the street after his death.
‘Someone contacted my attorney on behalf of Glynn County this past spring during the course of the GBI’s secondary investigation,’ she told the court.
‘They discovered what they believed to be one of Ahmaud’s bone fragments near to where he was murdered at Satilla Shores. They wanted to know what we wanted doing with those pieces of my son that they were still discovering in the street.’
The grieving mother asked the court to deny the McMichaels’ request to be released on bond so they can return home to their families because they ‘refused to let [her son] go home’.
‘He ran this path many times and our home was just a light jog away. But, for him, no matter how he maneuvered, no matter how fast he ran or how quickly he turned, these men refused to let him go home,’ she said.
‘They should not go home now to prepare for their defense, to enjoy their children and grandchildren and be embraced by the community.’
She added: ‘Ahmaud wasn’t allowed to go home. Ahmaud wasn’t even allowed the chance to live.’
Cooper-Jones told how she and her family ‘continue to suffer mentally and emotionally’ as they ‘wait for justice’, with her daughter Jasmine having just had her first baby without her brother ‘and best friend’ around.
The prosecutor, Jesse Evans, also read to the court an impact statement from Arbery’s father Marcus Arbery Sr. where he described the McMichaels as his son’s ‘judge, jury and executioner’.
Prosecutors say Arbery was no criminal but was merely out jogging and the McMichaels acted as ‘vigilantes’ motived by racist views. They also showed the judge photos of a home near the shooting scene that was damaged by gunfire.
‘You can interpret the video in a number of different ways,’ Walmsley told attorneys while denying the men bond at last month’s hearing. ‘But the video tells me there’s a significant risk and danger to the community’.
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