Man Behind the Video
We all know about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery because a video was taken of the incident. (Video). I have doubts about why the video was leaked. If The Hill article is correct, the defense attorney, Alan Tucker, was advising the McMichaels. I have to suspect that he released the video in the hopes that it would help them, not hurt them. Since he was not the official attorney for the McMichaels, we still don’t know how Mr. Tucker got the video in the first place.
Though we would like those questions answered, the person who actually took the video is our focus. William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. was arrested yesterday on charges of Felony Murder and Criminal Attempt to Commit False Imprisonment. Mr. Bryan has, from the beginning, maintained his lack of involvement in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. His attorney has pointed out that the video Mr. Bryan took is the sole reason that we are all aware of what was done to Mr. Arbery and has claimed that Mr. Bryan is the star witness.
Innocent Bystander or Accomplice?
William Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, keeps pushing the narrative of Bryan being an innocent bystander whose fortuitous actions will help to put murderers behind bars. Let’s take a look at those actions. According to Bryan, he saw Arbery being chased so he jumped in his vehicle and followed. Why? What was his intent? If I saw a man running down the street being chased by two men in a truck my first action would be to call the police but my perspective would be the men in the truck were the aggressors.
Why did Bryan follow the chase and take out his cell phone and start shooting video? What was he expecting to see? He sees two men in a truck, chasing a man, on foot, in the street and his first thought is not to help the poor man being chased, it’s to take a video of what was going to happen. Is he the kind of person who doesn’t care if some innocent person gets attacked as long as he can catch the gory details on video or is it more a case of he already had the ‘black man’ tried and convicted in his mind and wanted to be part of the group who ‘brought him to justice’? Vigilante justice, that is.
Statements Tell a Different Story
We already know that this case had to go through at least two previous district attorneys. District Attorney Barnhill, who couldn’t see anything wrong with the murder of Mr. Arbery and refused to file charges, noted in a memo that, “It appears Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and Bryan William (sic) were following, in ‘hot pursuit’.” It’s obvious that D.A. Barnhill believes that William Bryan was part of the chase. But that’s not the only statement that includes Mr. Bryan as an actor in the crime. In the police report, that was taken at the time of the murder, the officer writes that “McMichael stated the unidentified male turned around and began running back the direction from which he came and “Roddy” attempted to block him which was unsuccessful.”
And finally, we have the arrest warrant. According to ABC7.com, “Asked how Bryan could be charged with murder if he didn’t pull the trigger on the weapon used to kill, Reynolds referred to Bryan’s arrest warrant, which said he tried “to confine and detain” Arbery without legal authority by “utilizing his vehicle on multiple occasions” before Arbery was shot.” Reynolds being Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vic Reynolds. So it wasn’t just one attempt to block Mr. Arbery. It was multiple attempts. That’s not my definition of an innocent bystander.
What Bryan Says and What the Law Says
As proof of his lack of involvement, Mr. Bryan has stated that he had no communication with the McMichaels the day of the shooting, prior to the incident. By that he’s trying to show that he could not have corroborated with them to kill Mr. Arbery. Bryan has also stated that he did not have a gun with him. Again, to show that he was not part of a conspiracy to murder Mr. Arbery.
However, Mr. Bryan doesn’t say anything about his attempts to block (herd?) Mr. Arbery so that the McMichaels could catch him. According to the CNN article, “A person can be charged with felony murder in Georgia if he or she is alleged to have contributed to another’s death, even unintentionally, while committing another felony. Bryan also faces a charge of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.” What this is saying is that Bryan’s attempt to block Mr. Arbery’s escape was an attempt to falsely imprison him, a felony. Mr. Arbery was then murdered making Bryan a co-conspirator to the murder even if there wasn’t an initial plan to kill anyone and he wasn’t the one who actually killed Mr. Arbery.