The man who recorded the fatal video of Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting said he and his fianceé are getting death threats.
Glynn County police were told William “Roddie” Bryan unsuccessfully tried to block 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery with his car before following Arbery jogged away. He was driving behind when Arbery ran toward a stopped pickup truck and was videotaping with his cellphone as police say Travis McMichael shot Arbery with a shotgun as the two men struggled over McMichael’s gun.
A defense attorney also said Bryan is under investigation by police even though he turned over his video and cooperated with authorities “from day one.”
“It was Mr. Bryan who videotaped the incident in question, disclosed the existence of the videotape, and invited a responding Glynn County Police Officer to sit with him in his truck where they watched the video together,” attorney Kevin Gough said.
The video appears to show the confrontation between Arbery and two men before the shooting that left Arbery dead in Brunswick.
The men -- McMichael, 34, and his father, Gregory McMichael, 64 -- were arrested Thursday and face charges of murder and aggravated assault in Arbery’s killing on February 23, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The footage was a “very important piece of evidence,” GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Friday when discussing the arrests. Asked whether there will be additional arrests, Reynolds told reporters the investigation is still active.
"We investigate everybody involved in the case, including the individual who shot the video," he said.
The comments by authorities have put Bryan’s life in danger, along with his family, friends and neighbors, his attorney said in a statement. He added that his client has lost his job despite committing no crime, volunteering to share his video with law enforcement and fully cooperating with the investigation.
Bryan’s fiancee, Amy Elrod, said she knew something was terribly wrong the day of the shooting, based on her his demeanor when he got home.
“He was just so emotional,” Elrod said. “As a nurse, I just wanted to protect him, keeping him close.”
Since the video’s release, Elrod said she and her Bryan have only returned to the Satilla Shores neighborhood where the shooting happened to grab essential items. They live near the McMichaels but they were unaware of the McMichaels’ connections to law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office.
“We’re scared. I mean, we’re living out of my car pretty much right now because we’re can’t go home,” Bryan said.
“Mr. Bryan videotaped what was going on and because he did that, there is a prosecution," Gough said. "If he had not videotaped that incident, the only person who really could speak to what happened is dead and we’ll never have that opportunity. That video is the prosecution.”
Elrod even their family members and neighbors have received threats since the video surfaced. Bryan has lost his job as a result of the incident and is unemployed.
Elrod said she’s worried Bryan may end up in the same jail as the two men accused of murder in Arbery's death.
Gough’s full statement:
“I represent Roddie Bryan, a witness to the tragic shooting and death of Ahmaud Arbery. No parent should have to bury their own child, especially one so young. As a father himself, Roddie’s heart goes out to Ahmaud’s family. Thanks to the public outcry over Mr. Arbery’s death, and the manner in which prosecutor’s (sic) handled it, the family will have their day in court. It will be for a judge and jury to determine the fate of those responsible for his death.
"Despite his cooperation, and for reasons that he does not understand, Mr. Bryan has learned that the family and apparently their lawyers are demanding that he be arrested. Local media have apparently reported that an arrest is imminent. Roddie and his family are now receiving threats. Roddie has lost his job, and is now unemployed. Mr. Bryan, his fiancee, his children, his siblings and other family members, friends and neighbors now live in fear despite the fact that Mr. Bryan has committed no crime and fully cooperated with the investigation into the shooting.
"Contrary to irresponsible media reports, Mr. Bryan was unarmed at the time of the shooting. Roddie is a family man, NASCAR fan, and enjoys rock and roll. He is not now, and never has been, a ‘vigilante.’
“Until this morning, when the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) announced it at a press conference, Mr. Bryan had never been advised by any prosecutor or law enforcement officer that he was a target of the investigation into Mr. Arbery’s death. Such comments, which are unsupported by the evidence already in the possession of the GBI, have needlessly placed the lives of Mr. Bryan, his family, friends and neighbors in jeopardy, and in a matter of moments effectively destroyed his life. Mr. Bryan respectfully asks that the GBI promptly review the file again and clear his good name.”