Ahmaud Arbery’s relatives, including sister Jasmine Arbery (left) and mother Wanda Cooper-Jones (second from left), sit at the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta on Monday to watch Governor Brian Kemp pass a law repealing the arrest law of the Citizen signed. Jeff Amy / AP hide caption
Jeff Amy / AP
Jeff Amy / AP
About a year after Ahmaud Arbery’s death became national news, and nearly 15 months after he was shot while jogging on a street, Georgia repealed the vague law used to defend the men charged with the murder of his Are charged with murder.
Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed the overhaul, which he campaigned for at the Georgia Capitol on Monday, along with a non-partisan group of state lawmakers, as well as Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones and sister Jasmine Arbery.
“I think the state of Georgia is moving in the right direction by passing this particular bill,” Cooper-Jones said at the Capitol. “Unfortunately, I had to lose my son to make a meaningful change. But I’m still grateful.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Kemp said, “This bill makes Georgia the first state in the country to repeal its citizen’s arrest law.”
“Today we are replacing a civil war-era law ripe for abuse with language that balances a person’s sacred right to self-defense and their property with our shared responsibility to eradicate injustice and move our state into a better way bring forward. ” ” he said.
The law that allowed any citizen to “arrest” another if a crime was committed “to their immediate knowledge” has been replaced with a specific language to allow the detention of citizens in certain circumstances, including shopkeepers who Witness shoplifting and restaurant owners, and employees witnessing “Dine and Dash” customers.
The men charged with Arbery’s murder said they thought Arbery had committed a break-in while chasing him through a neighborhood near Braunschweig, although no evidence of the crime has emerged.
It is the second Georgian law to change bipartisan after Arbery’s death. The state general assembly passed a hate crime law on Arbery’s behalf last summer.
“Too often we spend time under the Gold Dome to argue about differences. But the support from both parties that this bill has received is, in my opinion, a testament to the fundamental nature of our state,” said Kemp on Monday.
“Today Georgia is doing what’s right.”
In a statement, Democratic State Senator Tonya Anderson said: “Last year, after the hate crime law was passed, the [Georgia Legislative Black] Caucus promised to end the practice of arresting citizens. [On Monday]By signing his name, Governor Kemp helped us keep that promise. We are now the first state to lift the arrest of citizens, and I hope not the last. “
Anderson, the chairman of the caucus, said, “I ask the governor and my colleagues to pursue the goal of criminal justice reform. There is more to be done and we stand ready to do it together as a Georgia.”
The bill is signed as state and federal charges move forward against three men involved in Arbery’s death, Greg and Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan.
State hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges are scheduled for Tuesday, and hearings in the state murder prosecution are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
“The family is still focused on criminal accountability and leading this case to prosecution and fair conviction at both state and federal levels,” said Lee Merritt, Cooper-Jones attorney.
He said that the citizen’s detention law “created the atmosphere for what happened to Ahmaud” and that “its repeal is evidence of it”.