United Kingdom

Attorney for man who filmed Ahmaud Arbery's killing says anyone would have done the same

William 'Roddie' Bryan is among the three men charged with federal hate crimes in the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery who was chased and shot while out jogging in Brunswick in February 2020

An attorney for the Georgia man who was charged after he filmed the fatal shooting of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery has claimed any 'patriotic American' would have done the same thing. 

William 'Roddie' Bryan is among the three men charged with federal hate crimes in the slaying of the 25-year-old black man who was chased and shot while out jogging in Brunswick in February 2020.

Greg McMichael and his adult son, Travis McMichael, are the other two men charged.

All three pleaded not guilty to the federal charges during a court appearance on Tuesday. 

In an interview CourtTV prior to the federal hearing, Bryan's attorney Kevin Gough insisted that his client was innocent and that a jury would come to the same conclusion.

When asked why Bryan joined the chase,  Gough argued that any American would have done the same. 

'Any patriotic American under the same circumstances would have done the exactly the same thing,' Gough said. 

He argued that it was 'grossly unfair' Bryan was not being allowed out on bail. 

Greg and Travis McMichael are accused of arming themselves and pursuing Arbery in a pickup truck after he ran past their home on February 23, 2020. Bryan, who is a neighbor, allegedly joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis shooting Arbery three times at close range with a shotgun 

Greg McMichael (right) and his adult son, Travis McMichael, (left) are also charged with hate crimes. All three are due to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon

'I think one could reasonably take the position that Roddie Bryan is a political prisoner in this case. He should not be in jail right now... he should be out on bail,' he said.  

'He is being punished as a way of appeasing the woke left mob and it's simply not right.  

'Whatever you think of what the McMichaels did that day... why is Roddie Bryan stuck in the middle of this. Why has he lost a year of his life? It's just unfair to Mr Bryan to be placed in this situation and to be put on trial for his life.'  

All three defendants have been jailed without bond since their arrests on state murder charges a year ago. 

They initially remained free for more than two months after Arbery was killed but were swiftly charged after Bryan's cellphone video became public and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police. 

Greg and Travis McMichael are accused of arming themselves and pursuing Arbery in a pickup truck after he ran past their home on February 23, 2020. 

Bryan, who is a neighbor, allegedly joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis shooting Arbery three times at close range with a shotgun.

Federal prosecutor charged both McMichaels and Bryan, who are all white, with violating Arbery's civil rights, as well as attempted kidnapping for using their trucks and guns to try to detain him. 

The McMichaels are also charged with using firearms in the commission of a crime.  

The three men were charged a month after the killing when Bryan's cellphone video of the incident (above) became public. Greg and Travis McMichael are accused of arming themselves and pursuing Arbery in a pickup truck after he ran past their home on February 23, 2020

Bryan, who is a neighbor, allegedly joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis shooting (above) Arbery three times at close range with a shotgun 

Gough said that his client was being portrayed as if he conspired with the McMichaels, which he argues it not true. 

'I think the biggest misperception is that somehow Roddie Bryan has anything to do with the McMichaels and whatever was going on in their heads on the day of this shooting,' Gough said. 

'My guy is not in communication with them prior to the shooting... it's very clear he's out on his porch minding his own business when someone that he doesn't know goes running by followed by a vehicle that he recognizes as being from the neighborhood.

'Whatever was going on with the McMichaels, whatever their motivations are, there is absolutely no indication that Roddie Bryan had anything to do with it. 

'All he's doing at the time of the shooting is recording it on his cellphone. 

'Roddie Bryan has committed no crime.'

Defense attorneys for the McMichaels also insist they committed no crime. 

Lawyers for the McMichaels have said they chased Arbery because they suspected he was a burglar who had been recorded on video inside a nearby home under construction. 

They say Travis shot Arbery fearing for his life as they grappled over a shotgun.  

Prosecutors say Arbery was merely out jogging and there's no evidence Arbery stole anything from the home.

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