GA Gov. Kemp Abolishes An 1863 Law

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp passed legislation to repeal citizens’ arrest law one day ahead of the federal hearing in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

House Bill 479 repeals a law from 1863 which broadly allowed residents to detain someone they suspected of a crime.

The newly passed bill comes a year after the fatal shooting of Arbery, a black man pursued by white men who said they suspected him of burglarizing a house under construction.

Arbery, a 25-year old African American, was shot dead when three white men in Glynn County attempted a citizen’s arrest on Arbery. Arbery allegedly tried to wrestle a rifle away from one of the individuals. Father and son, Greg and Travis McMichael, followed Arbery because they suspected him of being a burglar. The McMichaels, along with William Bryan, pursued Arbery through the neighborhood. The McMichaels’ lawyers have said McMichael shot Arbery while fearing for his life as they grappled over a shotgun.

Court documents show that Arbery had a lengthy criminal history in multiple jurisdictions, including an incident in which he brought a gun to a school. Several members of the local community described Arbery as a known burglar and shoplifter. Arbery was known as “the jogger” because he would use jogging as his alibi when questioned by police.

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Darius Ricks has a passion for researching and writing about African-American culture while working toward his Paralegal Studies degree from John Tyler Community College. Ricks strives to write stories that inspire Americans to think freely and openly without fear of judgment.