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.