Gov. Kemp to Overhaul Citizen's Arrest Law After Arbery Death

Feb 17, 2021

Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25-year old black man, was pursued and fatally shot while jogging in Brunswick, Ga.
Credit Lee Merritt

Georgia’s governor is supporting a plan to overhaul Georgia’s citizen’s arrest statute. The measure came under scrutiny last year after the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.

"Ahmaud was a victim of a vigilante style of violence that has no place in Georgia."

During a media conference Tuesday afternoon, Governor Brian Kemp says he wants to end the 1863 law.

"This bill repeals the current Civil War Era Statute to prevent the terrible consequences of a vague and outdated law. It clarifies when a citizen, business owner, or law enforcement officer may reasonably detain an individual."

He provided specifics on what is allowed under the new legislation.

"Law enforcement officers can still perform arrests outside of their jurisdictions when a crime is committed in front of them, when they are in hot pursuit of an offender, or when assisting fellow officers in their duties. This legislation clearly allows business owners to detain individuals and turn them over to authorities when crimes are committed on their premises. Whether it be theft, attempt to dine and dash, or other acts of lawlessness. It provides civil immunity to those who do so in accordance with the law."

Residents are still allowed to defend themselves.