William Bryan, 50, recorded on February 23 as Greogory McMichel, a 64-year-old former police officer and his 34-year-old son Travis, were chasing and shooting the young African-American man Ahmaud Arbery, 25, from Brunswick, Georgia, who was jogging through a residential area. Despite accompanying the McMichaels, arrested on May 7, Bryan claimed the status of witness. But police took him to the Glynn County Jail Thursday to keep his two friends company, also charged as alleged perpetrator of that crime.
The matter was parked, without the police making any arrests, until earlier this month the video made by ‘Roddie’ Bryan, who is now accused of murder crimes and trying to commit a false arrest.
The McMichels stated that they went after Arbery with their van because they were thought to be a suspect in a robbery. The mother of the deceased replied that the young man was only doing a workout and that the others went after him due to the color of his skin. If a black man ran through a white area, they concluded that he was a criminal. Justice was taken by his hand.
In a statement, the attorney for the deceased’s parents said the family is relieved by Bryan’s arrest. “His involvement in the death of Ahmaud was obvious to many and this has also been seen by the Georgia investigative office,” said the lawyer.
Fourteen members of the Georgia delegation in Congress, from both parties, signed last Wednesday a letter addressed to Attorney General William Barr requesting that the Justice Department collaborate in the investigation. “This grinding case and the alarming video has put our state in the national focus,” they wrote. The department said last week that it was reviewing the evidence to determine if it is appropriate to file charges for racial hate crime.
Before the scandal over this apparent hunt, with the consequent blush due to the delay in the investigation, the event passed through the hands of several prosecutors.
It started with Jackie Johnson of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit. She recused herself because Gregory McMichael had been an investigator in his office. It then fell to George Barnhill, from another district, who also recused himself, after Arbery’s mother complained that Barnhill’s son used to work with McMichael at the district attorney’s office.
Before dropping the matter, Barnhill drafted a document expressing the opinion that the McMichaels had acted in self-defense because Arbery tried to take the gun from Travis. This qualification caused a blush: how could one defend himself against the attack?
Tom Durden, the new public prosecutor to take on the case, released a statement in which he reported that the matter should be brought before a grand jury to consider possible court charges. Due to the coronavirus, this institution is canceled until mid-June. The protests raised alerts and the state police agency decided to go into the matter.