KEY POINTS

  • The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said William Bryan was arrested on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment
  • Bryan, who filmed Ahmaud Arbery's shooting, was accused by suspect Gregory McMichael of helping McMichael and his son chase down Arbery
  • Bryan and his attorney have maintained Bryan's innocence in the shooting and that there wouldn't be a case without his video

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said it had formally charged the man who recorded Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting at the hands of George and Travis McMichael on Feb. 23 in Brunswick, Georgia. His arrest followed demands for action by Arbery’s family and civil rights attorney R. Lee Merritt, who represents Arbery’s family.

William Bryan, 50, was arrested Thursday and charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. He was booked at the Glynn County Jail.

"If we believed he was a witness we wouldn't have arrested him," bureau director Vic Reynolds told a press conference Friday, adding he could not go into details because the investigation was continuing. No further arrests were expected.

“We are going to make sure we find justice in this case,”  Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes promised.

Merritt said Arbery’s family was “relieved” to learn Bryan had been arrested.

“We called for his arrest from the very beginning of this process ,” Merritt said in a statement. “His involvement in the murder of Mr. Arbery was obvious to us, to many around the country and after their thorough investigation, it was clear to the GBI as well.”

The arrest stems from accusations by Gregory McMichael that Bryan tried to help stop Arbery as he attempted to flee. He allegedly tried cutting Arbery off after Arbery had managed to get around the McMichaels’ pickup truck when Arbery got around Bryan’s truck, too. The two trucks then allegedly chased down Arbery until the McMichaels got ahead of Bryan and the latter start recording the chase on his phone.

Bryan and his attorney, Kevin Gough, have maintained he is innocent and only recorded the altercation.

"I had nothing to do with it," Bryan said in a recent interview with Jacksonville CBS affiliate WJAX.

“My client was responding to what he saw, which was someone in the community he didn't know being followed by a vehicle he recognized,” Gough told reporters. “Without going into details about the level of crime in this community in this subdivision, I think most people in this subdivision were aware that there were issues.”

Gough has noted his client passed a polygraph test, which is inadmissible as evidence.

police line Representation image of a crime scene. Photo: Gerd Altmann/ Pixabay