Arbery Shooting in Georgia and Citizen's Arrest [& similar shootings]

The most obvious rebuttal to the OP’s implied argument is that the Georgia law he quotes only applies to people who have committed a felony. Arbery had not. Trespassing is a misdemeanor in Georgia.

The citizen’s arrest law also contains no provision that authorizes a private person to use force or the threat of force in carrying out their arrest. The McMichaels had no legal authority to point a gun at Arbery in order to carry out their arrest.

From a legal standpoint, what McMichael did was approach a person in public and threaten him with a gun. At this point, Arbery was legally justified, under Georgia law, to defend himself:

McMichael is not allowed to make a counter-claim that he was defending himself from Arbery when they fought for control of the gun. As noted above, McMichael started the incident by pointing the gun at Arbery and Georgia law specifically exempts self-defense claims by a person who “initially provokes the use of force against himself”.

Based on my understanding of the meaning of the word “immediate,” I’d be inclined to say “No.”

Sounds more like “hearsay.” The person you heard say it is a mediate entity between you and the actual knowledge, which violates the meaning of the word “immediate” (without mediate entities).

I know for a fact that the checklists are printed on white paper, and THAT’S racism.

You misspelled “ten.”

I agree with basically everything else you said. But, Georgia law prohibits self-defense claims by “*nitially provokes the use of force against himself with the intent to use such force as an excuse to inflict bodily harm upon the assailant”. (emphasis added).

It may be that the purpose of confronting Arbery was to provoke a violent altercation to allow the use of force in response but I think it would be difficult to show that this was the intent, at least based on what he currently know. I mean, I agree that Arbery could defend himself in this situation, but if he unnecessarily escalated the force (and he didn’t), I don’t think that provision would prevent a counter-escalation.

The OP is, literally, asking what the problem is because the OP can’t see it after noting that apparently there is a law that makes it all legal and because the guy fought it was ok to shoot him.

There is no reflection from the OP if that makes any sense whatsoever.

Seems more like JAQing off to me.

Goddammit. I started writing the list then got ambitious. Thought I’d fixed this.

A single incident, perhaps. But when it happens again and again and again, and it’s almost always white people putting black people, who are just going about their lives, in danger, then it’s pretty reasonable to suspect that racism is involved in most of these incidents.

Further, racism is pernicious and often unconscious. These folks may have really thought this guy was a criminal… but his skin color was probably a big part of that judgment, whether they realized it or not.

Aside from the McMichaels’ claims after the fact, do we have any indication that they were, in fact, putting Arbery under citizen’s arrest?

The whole citizen’s arrest point is probably moot, however

Zimmerman is the president of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

So that defense is out. The McMichaels’ only hope then would be claiming they acted in self-defense, which begs the question: If someone presents a clear and present danger to me, and I act in self-defense, can the perpetrator of the incident claim self-defense if he kills me while I’m defending myself because he thinks I might kill him (in self-defense)?

But his presence on the construction site seems irrelevant in any case, since the McMichaels (by their own testimony) had no knowledge of it when they pursued him, that surveillance video only came to light later. They just saw him running past their yard, and claimed to suspect him of burglaries or thefts days or weeks earlier.

Comments by Falchion and Hamlet above seem to give some comfort on whether the interpretation of citizen’s arrest laws is reasonable. Even if there were a genuine resemblance to the perpetrator, with the obvious potential for error and for escalation of violence it seems insane to me that any law would justify a civilian attempting to forcibly “arrest” someone when the suspected crime was non-violent and occurred days or weeks earlier, and when the “suspect” is currently doing nothing wrong and is no threat to anyone.

Also, is merely being at the construction site enough reason to be suspicious and chase the guy? Did they know he wasn’t the owner? On what basis could they assume this guy was up to no good an needed pursuing (much less shooting)?

It would truly be TERRIBLE if that is the case and for it I’d give them the Chair… but do you have anything to back this up? Have you got some kind of insight into their motivations?

We can never know what these people thought at the time. Maybe they will tell us. Maybe they will lie when/if they tell us and even then there is no reason to trust what they say.
What we can do is consider what a reasonable person would do. And no reasonable person would do what they did.

Yes, in fact, we do have insight into their motivations.

Insight #1: If they are not completely insane, then they have motivations for the things they do.
Insight #2: Their stated motivations have turned out to be blatant lies.
Insight #3: Their lying must also have had motivation.
Insight #4: The likely motive behind their lying is that the actual motive for the shooting was a reprehensible one.
Insight #5: Racism is one possible reprehensible motive for the shooting.
Insight #6: Racism is an extremely common reprehensible motive in this country, especially in that part of the country.

But if you think that’s an unfair conclusion, then you can go ahead and tell us what you think their motive was, and why they lied about it.

In some circumstances “yes,” but not in circumstances that would matter here. (Georgia law may be different). But, broadly, you may use, in self-defense, only the amount of force reasonably necessary to defend yourself. So if the “defender” unreasonably escalates the situation, the self-defense right can flip back to the initial aggressor. That principle can’t matter here because “confronted with shotgun” pretty much immediately maxes out the level of force available in response.

I assume that the definition of “escape” is fleshed out under state law (most likely in the context of warrantless arrests by police officers), but I can’t imagine a definition that would extend to observing someone walking (or running) by who you believe committed a felony in the past, especially if part of your theory is that you frequently see this individual. That would seem to render the probable cause + exigency requirement meaningless. (Although, burglary is generally considered a violent crime). While it may have been your historic right (and duty!) to apprehend a fleeing felon, it poses certain (obvious) risks to everyone involved.

Well stated and insightful.

::making popcorn while we wait for the OP to return and address these insights::

It turned out badly for the guy whom they lynched. We have yet to see whether it will turn out badly for the murderer and if so, how badly. It certainly won’t be anywhere nearly as bad as Arbery’s fate. Not unless someone murders them.

I’m not responding to any of it. Several posters make an accusation of racism against me, which is reported and goes unmodded.

Can we not have a regular debate about this?

And I even said that if what you said the unvarnished facts were, these guys are guilty, and probably are guilty of racism. But we can’t do that on this board.

Now, back to (possibly) reasoned debate on the facts. Several incorrect posts here.

  1. The right to arrest is the right to use reasonable force. Would you argue that the police cannot pull a gun to when arresting a fleeing felon? And before you say that these guys are just racist redneck buffoon assholes who want to execute a black guy, I am assuming for the purposes of argument that they were making a lawful arrest. If they were, brandished a gun, and Arbery did not submit to a lawful arrest, but fought back and attempted to disarm his lawful arrestors, self defense is certainly justified (Again for those that do not read the disclaimers. I am not saying that is what happened).

  2. I cited the law but several people want to point out that they believe (the facts prove?) that Arbery committed no felony or no crime at all. That doesn’t matter. The law clearly states a probable cause standard. Are you allowed to shoot a cop if he mistakenly things you committed a felony and tries to arrest you? Citizens are clothed in arrest power in more limited circumstances than cops, but they power to arrest, if lawful is the same.

Finally, what is the Georgia law about resisting an unlawful arrest? If these guys (and again, I need to keep making this disclaimer, not that it will matter) thought in good faith that they were on the right side of the law because they thought they had probable cause that this guy had committed prior felonies, may a citizen resist an unlawful arrest? Many states say that you must submit and fight the unlawful detention in court.

If not, and they make a good faith argument, wouldn’t that mitigate murder to manslaughter in Georgia? Sort of “imperfect self defense”?

What if no one is interested in accepting this as an assumption for the basis of discussion?

What was the probable cause?