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Gov. Kemp signs repeal of Georgia's Civil War-era citizen’s arrest law

The state House and Senate passed the repeal by overwhelming margins after Ahmaud Arbery's killing.

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp signed a repeal of Georgia's Civil War-era citizen’s arrest law on Monday. 

He's taking action a year after the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man pursued by white men who said they suspected him of a crime. 

The state House and Senate passed the repeal by overwhelming margins after Arbery's killing.

"Today, I was proud to sign H.B. 479 to overhaul Georgia's citizen's arrest statute, while also protecting every Georgian's sacred right to defend their person and property," Gov. Kemp said in the press conference. "After the tragic killing of Ahmaud Arbery, we knew that action was needed to ensure an antiquated, Civil-War era statute could not be used to justify rogue vigilantism in the Peach State."

This also means bystanders in Georgia can no longer make an arrest if a crime is committed in their presence. It still provides for self defense and allows business owners to detain suspected thieves. 

Georgia also passed a hate crimes law last year.

"There is no doubt we still have challenges to face together and we will not always agree on how best to get there," Gov. Kemp said. "But I believe that Georgia will always meet the moment and do what is right."