Ga. lawmakers to introduce bill repealing citizen's arrest law

Georgia Capitol
Georgia Capitol(WRDW)
Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 10:22 AM EDT
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Friday, June 5, 2020

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -- Several Georgia representatives are going to introduce a bill that would repeal the citizen's arrest law in the state.

State Representatives Carl Gilliard (D- Garden City), Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta), Don Hogan (R-St. Simon’s Island), William Boddie (D-East Point) and Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert) announced their plans Thursday to introduce the legislation.

“This legislation’s focus is to prevent civilians from taking the law into their own hands,” Rep. Gilliard, who is the author of the bill, said in a statement. “Our citizen’s arrest law was created in 1863, and this law is clearly outdated as it was formed in the fashion of the Wild West. When individuals lose their lives at the hands of civilians that become judge and jury, we must use the power of the pen to move Georgia forward.”

According to a news release from the Georgia House of Representatives, the current law states that a private citizen may arrest an offender if an offense is committed in his or her presence or within his or her immediate knowledge. If the offense is a felony and the offender attempts to escape, a citizen may arrest him or her upon reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion.

The proposed legislation would prohibit certain citizens from practicing a citizen’s arrest, including weight inspectors and citizens who are licensed with the Georgia Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies, according to the news release from the Georgia House of Representatives.

The legislation will be filed during the 2020 legislative session, which will reconvene on June 15.

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