Third suspect charged with murder of Georgia unarmed black jogger
By Rich McKay
ATLANTA (Reuters) – The man who videotaped the slaying of an unarmed black man gunned down as he jogged through a suburban neighborhood in Georgia was arrested on Thursday as the third white suspect accused of murder in the racially charged case.
William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr., 50, of Brunswick, Georgia, was charged with felony murder and attempt to commit false imprisonment of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, in the Feb. 23 shooting death, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said in a statement.
Bryan’s attorney Kevin Gough could not immediately be reached for comment on Bryan’s arrest.
Bryan has previously come forward as the man who recorded a video of the slaying and turned the footage over to investigators before it emerged on social media and went viral earlier this month. The video shows Aubrey jogging down a two-lane street, then being shot to death as he was confronted by two armed white men who had stopped their pickup truck in his path.
The footage stoked outrage from civil rights activists already pointing to the case – with no arrests 10 weeks after the fact – as the latest incident of law enforcement in the United States allowing white perpetrators to go unpunished in the unjustified killing of a black man.
Days later, after the GBI intervened, police arrested the two white men seen in the video – former police officer George McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34. Each was charged with aggravated assault and felony murder.
The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery in a string of neighborhood burglaries when they spotted him running down the street and gave chase in their pickup through the coastal, south Georgia town of Brunswick, seeking to make a citizen’s arrest.
Bryan’s attorney has said to the media that his client had no relationship to the McMichaels and told police he was a mere bystander to the confrontation.
Arbery’s relatives have said they believe Bryan, too, had taken part in the fatal pursuit. Authorities have not explained any circumstances of Bryan’s suspected involvement.
The state attorney general is investigating the handling of the case by local prosecutors and police. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether there are grounds to bring federal hate-crimes charges.
(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; editing by Bill Tarrant and Grant McCool)
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