Men plead not guilty over murder of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery
Three white men charged with murdering unarmed black jogger Ahmaud Arbery have pleaded not guilty in a case that led to a national outcry when a mobile phone video of the shooting surfaced online.
- The men were arrested in May after footage of the incident was released online
- Mr Bryan is facing a separate state criminal investigation into possible sex crimes
- Mr Arbery’s death has often been invoked during protests against racial injustice
A former police officer, Gregory McMichael, 64, his son Travis, 34, and their neighbour William Bryan Jr, 50 — who filmed the shooting that took place in the US state of Georgia — were formally charged on Friday morning.
Mr Arbery, 25, was fatally shot on February 23 after the McMichaels had chased him in their truck while he was jogging in his hometown.
Police say the father and son believed Mr Arbery looked like a burglary suspect.
Mr Bryan joined the chase in his own pickup truck, police said, and took video of the incident on his phone, which appears to show the McMichaels confronting Mr Arbery before the jogger was shot with a shotgun.
The men were arrested in May.
The McMichaels were charged with nine counts including murder and aggravated assault, while Mr Bryan was charged with murder and attempt to illegally detain and confine.
All pleaded not guilty to the charges at Friday’s hearing, appearing via video link from jail.
Bryan denied bond
Mr Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, told the court his client was not a flight risk and had deep ties in the community, as he appealed for his client’s release.
Judge Timothy Walmsley denied bond for Mr Bryan, citing the risk that he may flee given the life sentence he faces if convicted, adding that Mr Bryan was also facing a separate state criminal investigation into possible sex crimes.
Investigators said they believed Mr Bryan tried to help the McMichaels by using his vehicle to “confine and detain” Mr Arbery multiple times and alleged that he hit Mr Arbury with his truck during the incident.
Mr Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, urged the judge to deny Mr Bryan bond, saying he denied her son the chance to go home on the day he was shot.
“He wants this court to allow him to go home,” she said.
“I am asking this court to say no. He cannot go home.”
Mr Arbery’s death has often been invoked during protests against racial injustice that have broken out across the nation since George Floyd’s death under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee.
The almost-two-month delay in bringing charges to the accused sparked national outrage.