SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – Something has changed in the year since Ahmaud Arbery’s murder. Right now there is bipartisan support at the Georgia Statehouse for repeal of the Citizen’s Arrest Act.
Governor Brian Kemp sat with WTOC in Savannah to reflect on the year-long anniversary of Arbery’s death. Kemp said he feels that Arbery has been a victim of vigilante-style violence that has no place in Georgia.
“It is unthinkable that things like this happen, and they do,” said Kemp.
Kemp did not wait for Arbery’s death case to be completed to take a clear public stance on what had happened. Kemp said despite the ongoing investigation, he felt it appropriate to urge lawmakers to take action and remove what he describes as antiquated, the Civil War-era Citizens’ Detention Act.
“I just think it’s the right thing,” said Kemp. “What we saw in the Ahmaud Arbery case is not, you know … this is not the Georgia state that I know. We’re better than that. “
Governor Kemp, along with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, unveiled the bill last week. The legislation makes it clear when certain individuals, including off duty law enforcement officers and businesses, can arrest someone. The governor added that it does not deprive any Georgian of the right to defend themselves.
“It’s very reasonable,” said Kemp. “It will continue to protect people. But it will also prevent this modern vigilantism. “
Governor Kemp said he contacted Arbery’s family and left a message for his mother. He said he wants her to speak to lawmakers at the Capitol and share her perspective. Also as a father, Kemp said it hurts to watch someone lose a child. He has a message for Arbery’s entire family.
“I just keep mourning and praying for her. But I also want them to know that we are working hard to fix something that honestly needed to be fixed a long time ago. And we will do it, ”said Kemp.
- Arbery’s mother ponders his death when a year-long vigil is held
- A year after Arbery’s murder, his mother files a $ 1 million civil rights lawsuit
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