William Bryan Jr., one of three men charged with killing Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery, argued in a court filing Friday that Arbery should have known he was under citizens arrest and complied when heavily armed men tried to run him off the road and detain him.
In a preview of their legal strategy, Bryan’s lawyers said in the memo that Arbery had been caught on CCTV walking through a construction site and was on probation for shoplifting, and therefore should have surrendered when Bryan and Travis and Gregory McMichael tried to pin him between their trucks on a Georgia street in February. When Arbery refused to stop, the McMichaels confronted him, ending with Travis shooting him three times.
“Arbery was not authorized to resist arrest when objectively speaking he knew that he was lawfully subject to arrest,” the memo said, claiming that Travis shot Arbery in self defense because Arbery “suddenly turned and rushed” the McMichaels. Prosecutors alleged that Arbery was only fighting back after trying, numerous times, to avoid being run down by the McMichaels, who had no evidence Arbery had committed a crime.
Bryan was denied bond during a Friday hearing, with a judge deeming him to be a flight risk because of the severity of charges he faces. Aside from state murder charges, Bryan faces possible federal hate crimes charges and is under investigation for unrelated sex crimes uncovered during the Arbery investigation, prosecutors revealed for the first time Friday. “Racist and bigoted remarks” were found on Bryan’s phone, including liberal use of the N-word, they said. In a victim impact statement, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper, said: “My son actually ran around him. My son actually ran for his life, but William Bryan did not allow my son to go home.”