Reforming Citizen Arrest Laws

DALTON, Ga. (WDEF)- Georgia Governor Brian Kemp wants to eliminate what he calls a “vigilante style of violence” one week before the anniversary of Ahmaud Arbery’s death.

“The horrific killing of Ahmaud Arbery shook a Georgia community” said Gov. Kemp.

Lawyers attempted to justify the actions of the suspects involved in Arbery’s death, Travis and Gregory McMichael, by claiming they were under the protection of Georgia’s citizen arrest law.

“That is why today my administration is introducing significant reform to our state’s citizens arrest statue” said Gov. Kemp.

With bipartisan support, the reform now making its way through Georgia’s House will restrict civilians from detaining individuals in almost all cases.

“Law enforcement police officers are trained to recognize if crimes are taking place” said Georgia attorney for Cook and Connelly, Charlie Bailey. “They’re trained on things like reasonable suspicion and probable cause. There’s a lot of really well intention citizens that are just not trained on those things.”

News 12 asked folks in Georgia if they believe it’s their right to make a citizens arrest if they witness a crime in their community.

“If something really bad is going on, yeah we need to jump in and stop it but we don’t need to be shooting anybody or killing anybody” said one man.

Dalton’s Mayor David Pennington believes arrests should be made by law enforcement only.

“Dalton has like 95 certified police officers and it’s much safer to call 9-1-1” said Mayor Pennington. “They’ll respond within three or four minutes.”

But some citizens refuse to stand by and watch certain crimes take place.

“If I see a child being abducted I’m just not going to stand there back and just let that happen” said one woman.

The reform bill also includes protections for Georgia police officers operating outside of their jurisdiction.

Categories: Dalton, Featured, Government & Politics, Local News, State News – Georgia, Whitfield County