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Ga. legislators move forward on repealing citizen arrest law in aftermath of Arbery slaying

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 3:46 PM EST
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ATLANTA - Georgia has moved closer to possible repeal of an 1863 law that lets private citizens make an arrest, more than a year after the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery.

Arbery was a Black man with family ties to the CSRA chased down on Feb. 23, 2020, by white men who said they suspected he had committed a crime in Brunswick.

Prosecutors said Arbery was merely out jogging when he was shot.

The House bill won unanimous backing from the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday and could soon advance to a House floor vote.

It would remove from Georgia law the broad powers granted to ordinary citizens to make arrests.

Three men have been charged with murder in Arbery’s death. Among them are father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael, as well as William “Roddy” Bryan. The father and son are accused in the chase and slaying, and Bryan recorded it on video. Prosecutors claim Bryan played a larger role.

Arbery’s slaying added fuel to the summer protests of slayings of Black people by white police officers. Gregory McMichael is a former officer, and the case wasn’t prosecuted for months after the slaying, once it had gained national attention and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation got involved.

Arbery is buried near Waynesboro.

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