Georgia Governor Brian Kemp
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Miguel A. Faria, M.D.

This week Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed into law a bill that made the Peach State the first in the nation to repeal its citizen’s arrest statute.

“Today we are replacing this Civil War-era law, ripe for abuse, with language that balances the sacred right of self-defense of person and property with our shared responsibility to root out injustice and set our state on a better path forward,” Mr Kemp said, as reported by The Hill.

When this law was proposed and discussed in the state last year, following the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, I wrote a letter rebutting many of the misconceptions, deliberate omissions, and misrepresentations about the law. The letter wasn’t published in any of Georgia’s newspapers, although I have been a guest columnist in the Macon Telegraph for many years.

My rebuttal still holds because the misrepresentations and frank mendacity used in reporting by the media about this politically correct, but misguided law are still being bandied about as if they were truths that are self-evident.

It’s worth repeating my points here as I wrote and submitted them back to the press, July 14, 2020:

Dear Editor of The Georgia Recorder,

I read with interest Stanley Dunlap’s article on the Georgia Citizen’s Arrest law. Let me categorically state that the killing of Ahmaud Arbery had nothing to do with the citizen arrest law. There is no evidence the killers were attempting to arrest Arbery, but the incident had more to do with plain thuggery, and there are laws already on the books to punish hate crimes and murder. The incident is being used to attempt to change or repeal the law for ulterior motives related to citizen disarmament and gun control through the back door.

Murder is murder. The Waycross prosecutor who cited the law as justification for the actions of the men who pursued and killed Arbery in Brunswick was trying to score political points rather than seek justice for the young black man.

Clarification will be used to declaw the measure, but it seems repeal is the ultimate goal of the Democrat state lawmakers as well as by the Mercer law professor cited in your article, “I think it’s a good idea to repeal the statute altogether but at a minimum it really ought to be clarified because it is not helpful for a private citizen trying to understand what the law authorizes.”

Repeal of this law will leave citizens, who have nothing to do with this crime, helpless, and at the mercy of criminals at home and in the streets; and if cornered, would be left with having to resort to more drastic actions. Repeal of the Citizen’s Arrest laws may have unintended consequences, such as the killing of suspects who otherwise would have been arrested and handed over to the police.

It was very wise that our legislators enacted the Castle Doctrine and the Stand Your Ground laws. They help to stem crime at home and in the streets. With the citizen’s arrest law, citizens will not have to resort to more drastic measures in protecting their homes and loved ones.

And since “criminal justice reform,” racism, and “Civil War-era” history were brought into play, let me also say that gun control was passed in the South after the Civil War to deprive black citizens of their rights to keep and bear arm, a civil right that was incorporated in the 14th Amendment.

The inconvenient fact —namely, that blacks were deprived of their Second Amendment rights for needed self, home, and family protection in the post-Civil War-era — was not mentioned in your report. That in and of itself is quite telling and reveals selective omission, in other words, bias and misinformation. Perhaps, since I bring a much needed contrarian point of view, my little letter may resonate with at least some of your readers.

Sincerely,  Dr. Miguel Faria

In Georgia, citizen’s arrests are not uncommon. In fact in June of 2017, two escaped convicts, dangerous criminals in my own county in Baldwin County in Georgia, killed two guards and broke out of jail. After a crime spree, they were finally apprehended by an armed citizen at his own doorstep.

A friend commented and asked me: You already have in Georgia with “stand your ground,” the “castle doctrine,” protected self-defense, etc. Why do you need this law?

I replied, What do you do if your home (your castle) is broken into by two burglars in the daytime, who are nevertheless unarmed and want to carry away your wive’s jewelry and any other valuables that strike their fancy? You will have to let them take what they want. 

As we have seen with the COVID 19 and George Floyd riots, the police have not been either prompt or reliable — and in many jurisdictions, they have been unwilling or unable — to protect citizens, homes, or businesses. In others, they have been defunded.

While you call the police and risk your life and those of your loved ones, the criminals are free to do as they like, take what they want, and leave. What do you say now?

 

Miguel A. Faria, M.D. is Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.) Mercer University School of Medicine. Author of Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002).  His most recently released book is America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019).

 

36 COMMENTS

  1. As messed up as CA is, at least we can still detain a person via private citizen’s arrest if that person is witnessed committing a felony. Misdemeanors, no, as I understand our P.C., but felonies, yes.

    Georgia, you win the face palm for the day.

  2. Citizens arrest is bullshit. Call the cops.

    Mind your own business and walk the other way unless they’re harming you or threatening to harm you.

    • If you or someone else is getting assaulted, and you get the upper hand and stop them, this lets you hold them there until the police get to you to take them in without getting charged with kidnapping or having to resort to further force. You’re not clapping them in irons and hauling them to jail.

  3. Yes, they WERE trying to arrest Arbery.

    No, they did not have a valid excuse to do so.
    Therefore, there is nothing needing to be fixed in the law which did not authorize their attempted kidnapping.

    They weren’t trying to murder him, that was just a byproduct of him lawfully defending himself from lethal force and losing the fight. Arbery had already exhausted every possibility of retreat, so in the face of armed kidnappers, his choices were fight for his life and probably lose, or surrender to whatever they intended to do to him, when he had no idea that they intended to detain him and hand him over to LE.

  4. “the killing of Ahmaud Arbery had nothing to do with the citizen arrest law.” – And yet there were commenters on TTAG going on at length as to how the killers were justified under that law. If it was badly worded enough that people could sustain such arguments, it was too broadly worded and in need of change.

    • There are a lot of people who think they can arrest/detain trespassers, even when the trespasser is trying to leave and trespass doesn’t become criminal until the trespasser refuses an order to leave.

      But the Arbery case is a special kind of stupid, because the trespasser was never on the pursuers’ property. I’m OK with Joe Horn shooting a guy who runs off with the neighbor’s TV, but if a guy just walks through my neighbor’s open building, that’s none of my business.

      • In a nutshell you can citizen arrest an escaped convict or someone on a rampage that if allowed to continue would probably harm others. Otherwise for misdemeanors get a description, photo, etc. and call the police.

        Frankly I think the rino GA gov. is trying to impress liz cheney et al.

        • BTW…I want to thank the author for including the history lesson. The only thing missing was designating the political party behind such race based atrocities. Failure to do that prompts a history illiterate propaganda filled reader to assume it could not possibly be the goody two shoes democRat Party.

      • “I’m OK with Joe Horn shooting a guy who runs off with the neighbor’s TV”

        I’m also ok with Joe Horn defending his property and his nieghbors. But there are “so called Libertarians” who have called him a racist. For shooting those two criminals. And a couple of those “Libertarians” are on TTAG right now.

        Libertarians have a long history of not supporting private property rights. Unless it’s a criminal government who tries to take your property. Then they will speak up. As they did in the Kelo case.

        But if it’s a mob of rioters??? Libertarians don’t care.

        But it’s just fine if the government kills to protect government property.

        From 2018
        https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/panama-city-looter-shot-and-killed-while-trying-to-steal-a-police-car/

        • I should add that I’m OK with Byron David Smith killing home invaders while they’re in his home, after they’ve robbed him repeatedly.

          I’m a lot more OK with dead burglars than I am with Smith living in poverty because burglars repeatedly won’t allow him to have anything.

  5. 23 years as a cop in a busy place, saw plenty of gunfights, personal defense, murders, all types of mayhem.

    Not one citizens arrest.

    In my home state citizens arrest exists only for a high felony.

    I dont think this is anything but a knee jerk reaction to nothing- no need to repeal, no real abuses, just a lynching/ murder.

    Makes people happy. Like putting heat alarms in cars after people murder children in hot cares. Will be nice when new vans eventually come on the market with them- real effect-zero.
    Same here.

  6. Well Libertarians here is your gut check. Do you really believe in what you say??? Can law abiding citizens take care of business??? Or do they have to wait, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or longer, for the police to show up???

    And which Libertarian office holder will come forward to support citizens arrests??? You just had an special election in Georgia. What does that libertarian candidate have to say???
    Who was so proud to have cost the republican the election, to a democrat.

    • There was some Libertarian candidate in the run-off? Should have been an easy win, had Trump & co. not been suppressing the GOP vote
      by ranting about fraud and against mail-in voting.

  7. “Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.” ― Thomas Jefferson

    So now the police isn’t just the Übermenschen with special rights, they are the only ones with the right to stop criminals. Got it.

  8. Hmmm….so, under this law, if I catch intruders pilfering treasures in my house, and I hold them at gunpoint until the police arrive, will I have committed a crime? Use of my gun is justified; they broke in. But if I tell them “If you move, I will shoot”, will I have committed an illegal citizen’s arrest?

    • “will I have committed a crime?”

      Sorry but that doesn’t really matter anymore. Who’s your local prosecutor? Do you live in the sane or crazy part of the country?

    • That’s my question exactly.

      I’m not familiar with Georgia law on the topic to have any idea what the answer is but there is a gap between removing a law that explicitly makes an action legal and, OTOH, making that action explicitly illegal.

      It would seem, at a glance, that there are likely other legal arguments that can be advanced for holding someone at gunpoint under the situation both you and the author envision, but again, I’m not up on GA law to the point to comment on it and I’m well aware that laws on any given topic need not be logical.

      The cynic in me says “Great argument for getting a drop gun or two”.

  9. I live in Georgia. I am a 70 year old, 100%, disabled VietNam vet. If someone breaks into my home I will not try to arrest them. If they break into my home I am immediately in fear of my life or wife’s life and I will shoot them.

  10. The circumstances of the Arbrey case don’t matter. This is a power by the state. Taking power from the law abiding.

    Georgia just became a much more dangerous place to live. The gay Marxist BLM now has a new weapon they can use against law abiding people.

    The George Soros-funded District Attorneys are going to have fun with this one.

  11. “although I have been a guest columnist in the Macon Telegraph for many years.”
    Aren’t they the rag that spent years letting the Newport Rapist write ultra racist shit like “the mingling of Asiatic blood with European and American blood produces, in nine cases out of ten, the most unfortunate results”?

      • I don’t have to make up anything that I say. But I do know that many people don’t like what I say. This is the 4th or 5th time I have posted this video on TTAG since 2016. You can look for part 2 for yourself.

        “Black Lives Matter: The Black Racist LGBT Group [part one]” video 17 minutes long

  12. Kemp is a sterling example of traitorous Republocrats at work. You get more of what you tolerate. Atlanta’s sprawl coupled with it’s imported blue state parasites and the modern day slave plantation (primary crop; Democrat votes) are slowly but surely destroying the state.

  13. “In basically all states, you can use nondeadly force to defend your property—and if the thief or vandal responds by threatening you with death or great bodily harm, you can then protect yourself with deadly force. So in practice, you can use deadly force to protect property after all, if you’re willing to use nondeadly force first and expose yourself to increased risk.

    And in some states, you don’t even need to expose yourself to such increased risk, if you reasonably fear at the outset that nondeadly protection of property would be too dangerous. In those states, to quote the Model Penal Code formulation (which some have adopted), deadly force can be used if

    the person against whom the force is used is attempting to commit or consummate arson, burglary, robbery or other felonious theft or property destruction and either:

    [a] has employed or threatened deadly force against or in the presence of the actor; or

    [b] the use of [nondeadly] force to prevent the commission or the consummation of the crime would expose the actor or another in his presence to substantial danger of serious bodily injury.“

  14. He’s known as ONE and DONE KEMP for a reason…he was the only choice against Stacy Abrams…kinda a damned if we did , Damned if we didn’t

  15. Lots of different flavors of Libertarian.

    IMHO One of the pillars i.e. necessary but not sufficient, is that of ownership starting with ownership of ones’ self.

    Private property is worth defending. Lot of things insurance doesn’t cover and your pewce of mind is valuable.

    The two gentlemen violated Arbery. He would have been well within his right to end them if things went the other way.

    If you draw down on somebody, be prepared to explain in open court why. Remember cameras are every where and so is social media.

    Might be easier to pop the perp. IANAL. You mileage may vary.

  16. “You will have to let them take what they want.”

    NO! I act with extreme prejudice in such a case. Anyone who breaks into my house will be assumed to be armed and will be immediately shot! Unless they are bare-a** naked, how do I know they are unarmed?

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