- Ibrahim J. Awad, Esq.
Was It A Citizen's Arrest? #AhmaudArbery
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Gunmen who killed Ahmaud Arbery face charges.
Let's first discuss a citizen's arrest in Georgia. The law deputizes private persons to actually make a citizen's arrest, but under some conditions. The first condition is you must have seen observed the crime taking place or have immediate knowledge that the crime took place.
Secondly, if the suspect is running away, is escaping, then that crime has to be a felony. Now, the problem with that when you inspect the information in the Ahmaud Arbery case, no gunman, not one, observed him commit a felony.
The best case scenario for their argument is that they saw him at a construction site (which at worst is a trespass, a misdemeanor under GA law). He didn't damage the construction site.
He didn't steal anything from the construction site. He didn't stow anything into his car. He's not even in a car. He's on foot. He's jogging. There is no imminent danger. In fact, they had called the police already informing the police that he's just running, he's just jogging.
When the dispatch tried to figure out if there's anything else going on, they said, "no, he's just running in the neighborhood. " In fact, they told the police officer, the dispatch officer, that they intended to box him in. That's exactly what they were trying to do. Two of them, the McMichael's father and son vigilante duo got into their truck, passed him. Parked the truck. Got out of the truck. One got into the bed holding a 357 magnum. The other one was holding a shotgun, and William Bryan is in another vehicle, trapping him, corralling him, hunting him down. That is exactly what took place.
Now, if you want to narrow the timeline and accuse Ahmaud Arbery for being the aggressor, by holding, by grabbing the gun, then you're totally dismissing who initiated the encounter. The people that initiated the encounter are the gunman that put into effect a fight or flight response.
And eventually since Ahmaud saw that there was no flight response, there was no other alternative but to fight back. That's what he did. The only person that can possibly use the "stand your ground" legal theory is Ahmaud Arbery, the decedent, not the people that committed this heinous murder. This is exactly what it is. It is a murder. "stand your ground" does not apply in this particular case because they initiated the encounter. They were the aggressors.
Citizens arrest does not apply in this situation either because no gunman saw that he committed a felony. Every legal theory falls on its face and these three individuals need to be arrested immediately.
UPDATE: The McMichaels finally face MURDER and AGGRAVATED ASSAULT charges and have been arrested. William Bryan, the third gunman, has yet to be arrested.