Atlanta City Council seek citizens arrest law ban

Atlanta City Council wants state lawmakers to outlaw citizen's arrest.

Council members call the current legislation antiquated, "These types of laws have been abused and gone beyond their intention," Councilman Michael Julian Bond said. 

The council's resolution to "prohibit arrests by private persons" recently passed in a 13 to 1 vote.

The resolution notes there are hundreds of incidents where racial bias was the reason behind a citizen's arrest.

"A 100 years ago when there was less law enforcement, we didn’t have 911, didn’t have telephones readily available, this might have been something that made sense. It's outmoded. It's outdated. It no longer makes sense. It puts people's lives at risk," Bond explained to FOX 5's Brian Hill. 

The council's resolution points to this year's death of Ahmaud Arbery who was shot and killed while jogging.

They also recalled the 2019 death of a black man killed after police say a driver followed him after a car accident in Clayton County.

"We wanted to take the stand to ask the state legislature to remove this provision from our laws" the Councilman said.

He goes on to explain "so that one they can't be misapplied or misused and that people's lives aren’t at risk from overzealous citizens."

Council is urging the Georgia General Assembly to adopt House Bill 1203.

This would ban arrests by private persons or other authorities not identified as a peace officer.

"This will save people's lives because it'll take this unnecessary option off of the table," Bond said.

A Georgia House committee was brought in a few months back to review the state's citizens arrest law.

The committee will draft a bill so that lawmakers can review and tweak the bill before the start of the 2021 legislative session in January.

Council Howard Shook was the only member to vote against the resolution.

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