Georgia Governor Signs Bill Repealing Citizen's Arrest Law After Ahmaud Arbery Killing

Written by on May 10, 2021

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed laws on Monday repealing an outdated legislation that allowed for “citizen’s arrests” in response to the homicide of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, by three white males final yr. 

The laws, Home Invoice 479, repeals a legislation from 1863 which broadly allowed residents to detain somebody they suspected of against the law. 

Underneath the brand new laws, non-public residents usually can not detain others and might solely use pressure if it’s in self-defense or to stop a “forcible felony” like homicide or armed theft. Enterprise homeowners can nonetheless detain somebody who they imagine is stealing and should then launch them to legislation enforcement. 

Lawmakers in Georgia’s Home and Senate overwhelmingly handed the brand new laws earlier this yr.

On the invoice signing Tuesday, Kemp mentioned the brand new laws could be “changing a Civil Warfare-era legislation ripe for abuse.”

“One yr in the past a video shocked the world and sickened hearts,” the Republican governor mentioned of the homicide of Arbery, who he mentioned was a “sufferer of vigilante-style violence that has no place in our nation or our state.”  

Final February, a white father and son, Greg and Travis McMichael, have been armed and chased after Arbery, who was jogging of their neighborhood. A 3rd neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., additionally white, joined the pursuit and filmed it. Travis McMichael shot Arbery useless.

A prosecutor later cited the outdated citizen’s arrest legislation in protection of the white males, arguing to not cost the lads, saying they suspected Arbery of theft. 

The Civil Warfare-era legislation was meant to permit white folks to seize slaves who have been fleeing and later was used to justify lynchings of Black folks.  

All three males have been charged with homicide by the state and face federal hate crime expenses.

Rev. James Woodall, president of the Georgia NAACP, known as the invoice signing a “big step ahead.” 


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