ATLANTA, Ga. (WTOC) - Attorneys for Ahmaud Arbery’s family said efforts by William Bryan and his attorney to paint Bryan as a victim are offensive to the Arbery family, as they vowed to continue pushing for his arrest. Bryan filmed the video of Arbery’s death on Feb. 23.
Monday night, Bryan’s attorney said he was unarmed as he drove closely behind Arbery and eventually filmed the shooting; the attorney also said Bryan did not speak with either McMichael on the day of the shooting.
He claimed Bryan passed a polygraph test, though it’s not clear who administered the test. Polygraph tests are also not admissible in court as evidence.
“Mr. Bryan has already requested that the appropriate authorities clear his name. After reviewing the results of the investigation with the authorities, and separating fact from fiction, truth from rumor, we humbly ask that the Arbery family attorneys, S. Lee Merritt and Benjamin Crump, likewise clear my client,” Kevin Gough said Monday.
You can read the full statement from Gough below:
Lee Merritt and Chris Stewart responded to Gough’s comments Tuesday morning at the NAACP Atlanta branch headquarters, saying the comments enraged Arbery’s mother.
“To reverse roles and make himself the victim is offensive to this family. Ahmaud Arbery’s mother called me enraged about his comments,” Merritt said. “When she went to bury her son, and she put her hand on his cold, dead body, she promised him she would do everything in her power to ensure that everybody involved in his murder would be brought to justice. That’s what we’re doing.”
“There is no person involved in this case that is asking for violence or expecting violence or want anything to do with any type of violence or harm to come to anyone involved in this, whether they were part of this or not. That’s just ridiculous,” Chris Stewart said. “We were not the first people to accuse [Bryan] of being involved. That was the McMichaels. In the police report, they said [Bryan] blocked him off.”
Merritt also criticized a text message, purportedly from Glynn County Police Officer Robert Rash to a homeowner on Dec. 20 telling him “call [Greg McMichael] day or night when you get action on your camera.”
“But for [Rash’s] actions, but for him telling that community to call Gregory McMichael to handle a black trespasser, Ahmaud Arbery might still be here today,” Merritt said.
Merritt also said the video showing Arbery’s death is longer than the version publicly released, though he did not disclose any more about the video. He said the district attorney asked him to not discuss what it showed.