Brunswick attorney says he released deadly shooting video because ‘people had right to know’

Shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery now in national spotlight

The shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery has been passed through three district attorneys in the two and a half months since the man was shot and killed while jogging through a Glynn County neighborhood the afternoon of Feb. 23.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A Brunswick attorney said he is the one who released a cellphone video of the February shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.

The video, which a radio station posted on its YouTube channel Tuesday, sparked a national firestorm and calls for criminal charges against the two men who claimed self-defense, saying Arbery was fatally shot during a struggle over a gun.

“People had the right to know,” attorney Alan Tucker told News4Jax of the reason he shared the video with radio station WGIG. The video was shared widely on social media within a matter of hours, bringing national attention to the small Georgia town.

Arbery was shot and killed in broad daylight Feb. 23 in the suburban Brunswick neighborhood of Satilla Shores. Until Thursday night, no one had been charged. The third District Attorney’s Office, which is now handling the case, announced Tuesday it would likely be reviewed by a grand jury.

VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: Uncut cellphone video of shooting, confrontation

After the release of the video that drew outrage from major political players, star athletes and celebrities, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assigned three supervisory-level agents to look into Arbery’s death and why the shooter, Travis McMichael, had not been charged.

McMichael is the son of former district attorney investigator Greg McMichael, who was also involved in the incident and called 911 as he and his son chased Arbery in the neighborhood, claiming he had been inside a home that was under construction.

Both men were arrested Thursday night by the GBI and charged with murder.

Greg and Travis McMichael

Tucker said the video was given to him by the person who recorded it. According to attorneys for Arbery’s family, that person is William “Roddy” Bryan, who is listed as a witness in the police report about the deadly shooting.

WGIG published the “graphic, disturbing” video Tuesday afternoon and News4Jax reviewed the 30-second cellphone video before it was removed from the radio station’s website.

"We debated whether to put it out, but determined it was in the best interest of the public,” the radio station wrote in a post on its website.

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The video shows Arbery running on Satilla Drive before Travis and Greg McMichael, who are in a pickup truck stopped in the street ahead of Arbery, confront him.

Travis McMichael, who appears to be standing outside the parked truck, and Arbery then become engaged in a struggle over what looks to be a shotgun.

Three gunshots can be heard on the video within a seven-second span -- one before the physical confrontation began. In the last seconds, Arbery is seen trying to run away before falling to the ground.

It’s not clear in the video who fired the fatal shots, but the shooter’s father told police that Travis McMichael fired two shots, killing Arbery.

According to Glynn County police documents, the McMichaels told police they followed Arbery as he ran out of the neighborhood because there had been recent burglaries in the area.

According to the Brunswick News, which obtained documents from the Glynn County Police Department, only one car burglary had been reported in that area from Jan. 1 to the day of the shooting.

About the Author:

Kelly Wiley, an award-winning investigative reporter, joined the News4Jax I-Team in June 2019.