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Man who recorded Ahmaud Arbery video says he's received death threats, fears for his safety

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Posted at 12:48 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 12:48:35-04

The man who recorded the now-viral video that reportedly shows the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery says he hasn't felt safe since his video leaked to the public.

William Roddie Bryan was recording video on his cell phone on Feb. 23, when Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed by Travis McMichael in Brunswick, Georgia. The video prompted a tsunami of outrage when it leaked to the public on May 5 and ultimately led to the arrest of McMichael and his son, Gregory, two days later.

"I was told I was a witness and I'm not sure what I am, other than receiving a bunch of threats," Bryan told WJAX-TV in Jacksonville, Florida.

Over the weekend, Bryan told WJAX that he's received death threats since his video went public.

"I am not feeling safe at all. I haven't felt safe in at least 3-to-5 days now," Bryan said. "The threats have been real."

Bryan does appear in a police report taken from the scene. Gregory McMichael told officers that Bryan "attempted to block (Arbery)" as the McMichaels pursued him in their truck. Bryan told reporters at WJAX that he had "nothing" to do with Arbery's death, but did not go into specifics.

Bryan added that he thought his name had been "smeared" in the days since the video leaked.

Bryan's attorney, Kevin Gough, did tell WJAX that Bryan was "responding to what he saw, which was someone in the community he didn't know being followed by a vehicle he recognized." Gough added that "most people in this subdivision were aware that there were issues."

On Friday, Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vic Reynolds did not rule out that more arrests could be made in the case but added that additional arrests or charges would only be made if there was evidence to support them.

On Sunday, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the handling of the Arbery case. Between the shooting and the arrests on May 5, the case had been assigned to three separate districts attorney, one of which called for a grand jury investigation. Two of the district changes were prompted due to Travis McMichael's career as a police officer and a DA investigator.