On Monday evening (May 10), Georgia repealed its citizen’s arrest law. The Civil War-era law was brought into the public eye last year after Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. chased down Ahmaud Arbery and killed him in what they claimed constituted a citizen’s arrest.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed H.B. 479 into law on Monday, repealing the outdated policy. Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones and his sister Jasmine Arbery were present for the signing.
“Ahmaud was the victim of a vigilante-style violence that has no place in our country or in our state,” Kemp said, adding that the new law is “a complete overhaul of Georgia’s outdated citizen’s arrest statute.”
“Today we are replacing a Civil War-era law, ripe for abuse, with language that balances the sacred right to self-defense of a person and property with our shared responsibility to root out injustice and set our state on a better path forward,” he added.
“Unfortunately, I had to lose my son to get significant change,” Cooper-Jones said, “but again I’m still thankful.”
Later today (May 11), the McMichaels and Bryan will appear in court for a hearing on their federal hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges. The McMichaels were also federally charged with one count each of using, carrying and brandishing a firearm while committing a violent crime.
“All three defendants attempted to unlawfully seize and confine Arbery by chasing after him in their trucks in an attempt to restrain him, restrict his free movement, corral and detain him against his will and prevent his escape,” the Justice Department previously said in a statement.
All three men are also facing multiple state charges, which include felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and more. On Friday (May 7), it was announced that their state trial would begin on Oct. 18.