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Third suspect arrested in Arbery case
Ahmaud Arbery
Ahmaud Arbery

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds spoke at a press conference held May 22 saying that the third arrest in the Arbery murder investigation occurred on May 21 without any incidents.

Thursday the GBI issued a press release indicating that the GBI arrested William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., age 50, on charges of Felony Murder and Criminal Attempt to Commit False Imprisonment.

Bryan is the man who allegedly videotaped the killing of Arbery on Feb. 23, that has since been viewed across the nation sparking an outcry for justice.

Arbery was said to be jogging through the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick when he was confronted by alleged murder suspects Gregory and Travis McMichael, both armed white men. The confrontation resulted in the death of Arbery, an unarmed African American and former Brunswick High football player.

During Friday’s press conference Reynolds said that Bryan was booked and is currently being held in the Glynn County Jail.

Bryan’s arrest happened just one day after the GBI announced that GBI agents executed a search warrant at the home of the McMichaels.

Reynolds said the case is being investigated in partnership with District Attorney Joyette Holmes of the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office.

Reynolds said he could not discuss details of the case but noted, “We go wherever the facts take us. There was enough probable cause to make the arrest.”

Holmes said no bond hearings have been set for the McMichaels and Bryan so far.

“We are going to make sure we find justice in this case,” Holmes said. “We know we have a broken family and a broken community in Brunswick.”

She said there is much work to be done and the facts will all come to light during the trial.

The case has shined a spotlight on the Glynn County Police Department and the two District Attorneys who first handled the case.

On May 10, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr formally requested the U.S. Department of Justice, led by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Bobby Christine, to conduct an investigation into the handling of the Arbery case, by Waycross District Attorney George Barnhill and Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson, according to a press release issued from Carr’s Office.

Carr said his office received a request in February from the Brunswick DA to appoint another prosecutor. He appointed the Waycross DA to prosecute the case, but claims both DAs failed to let his office know the Waycross DA had already begun reviewing evidence and advising the Glynn County Police Department regarding whether to make arrests in the case.

No arrests had been made on the case until May 7, two days after Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden, who was appointed to the case in mid-April, requested the GBI investigate the matter.

Reynolds confirmed that GBI has a separate team of agents working on that aspect of the investigation.

On May 20, every Member of the Georgia Congressional Delegation in the United States House of Representatives co-signed a letter to U.S. Department of Justice Attorney General William Barr and Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, who leads the Department’s Civil Rights Division, according to a release from their office.

The letter encourages the Department to use “all possible Federal resources to achieve full justice, transparency, and accountability in the case of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery.” The Members noted that, “Justice cannot exist in a democracy that does not fiercely enforce equality under the law.”

The Letter is presented below:

Dear Attorney General Barr and Assistant Attorney General Dreiband,

As Members of the Georgia Congressional Delegation, we respectfully request that the United States Department of Justice use all possible Federal resources to achieve full justice, transparency, and accountability in the case of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery.

On February 23, 2020, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery was killed while running in the Satilla Shores neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Georgia. For months, Mr. Arbery’s family and the community endured their loss without the answers they are entitled to under the law. Across our state, our constituents are increasingly alarmed as we learn additional details about the case and its handling. For these reasons, we believe a full investigation, with robust Federal support, is warranted.

In particular, we encourage you to honor Georgia Attorney General Carr’s efforts and actions, and we hope the Department will provide strong assistance to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) inquiries regarding the criminal investigation and possible misconduct. As GBI conducts its investigation, Federal authorities and resources must provide unequivocal, unbiased technical aid and resources for this critical process.

This devastating case and alarming video brought a national spotlight to our beloved home state. For these reasons no stone should be left unturned in ensuring a fair, thorough, and lawful process. Justice cannot exist in a democracy that does not fiercely enforce equality under the law.

As always, we appreciate your consideration of our concerns on this grave matter, and we hope that you will give this request every full and fair consideration consistent with applicable law, rules, and regulations.

Georgia Delegation Ahmaud Arbery Letter
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