Man who filmed Ahmaud Arbery's death investigated in unrelated sex crimes

Man who filmed Ahmaud Arbery's death investigated in unrelated sex crimes
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News & Politics

The man who filmed the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery and was later charged with murder in his death is now the subject of a state investigation on unrelated sex crimes, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The Camden County Sheriff’s Office asked the state bureau to investigate “based on allegations made against William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, Jr.,” the GBI tweeted Friday. “The investigation is active and ongoing.”

Ben Crump, an attorney representing Arbery’s family, said in a tweet Friday that Bryan, who also faces a charge of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment in Arbery’s case, was denied bail. “We must keep the pressure ON and get #JusticeforAhmaud,” Crump said.

The video Bryan captured shows the moments leading up to Arbery's death on Feb. 23 in the Satilla Shores neighborhood, which is in South Georgia. Arbery was allegedly jogging when former cop and prosecutor’s investigator Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael hunted him down, accused him of trespassing onto the site of a home under construction, and killed Arbery. Bryan and the McMichaels were arraigned in court Friday in Brunswick, and they all pleaded not guilty, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Bryan’s attorney Kevin Gough, made his client’s case for bail before court Friday to News 4 Jax. “Keeping him in jail isn’t accomplishing anything,” he said. “Roddie is struggling in there. He’s not used to being in jail. He lost his house, his car, his job and everything, everything he has left in the world is in storage. If he can get back out, he can reclaim his life.”

Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans said during court the sex crimes investigation only "heightens the risk of flight" in Bryan's case, and Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, made a similar plea, News 4 Jax reported. “Each time I visit there, I fear running into either man who killed my son,” she said. “William Bryan does not feel he did anything wrong. What is to stop him from doing it again?”

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley ultimately denied Bryan’s bail as well as a motion requesting District Attorney Joyette Holmes be taken off the case, and another calling for a gag order, News 4 Jax reported. Marcus Arbery Sr., Ahmaud Arbery's father, applauded the court’s decision in a statement Crump tweeted on behalf of Marcus Arbery. “Bryan knowingly participated in the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery by documenting his murder, making it impossible for him to escape, and doing nothing to stop his murder,” he said in the tweet.

Marcus Arbery added: “I suffered the deepest loss a father can endure when the McMichaels, with the knowing participation of William ‘Roddie’ Bryan jr., acted as my son’s judge, jury and executioners.”

Crump also praised Holmes in his statement as a “deeply experienced” and “excellent choice to prosecute this case." She is the first Black woman to serve as Cobb County’s district attorney, and she was appointed to the Arbery case after a prosecutorial misconduct investigation was announced for two other Georgia prosecutors. A special prosecutor also stepped away from the case that took 74 days to even produce an arrest.

"It's ironic that the defendants are asserting their innocence and enjoying the American right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty," Crump said. "Because they denied Ahmaud Arbery that basic right by presuming him guilty based on the color of his skin and ending his life."

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