Civil Rights Organizations Commend Governor Kemp’s Dedication to Repealing Citizen’s Arrest

Updated: Mar 30

The newly-introduced House Bill 479 would repeal Georgia's citizen's arrest statute of 1863, making Georgia the first state in the nation to repeal this archaic, racist law.


Tequeria Barrett /

[Atlanta, GA] - Today, the Office of Governor Brian P. Kemp announced proposed legislation that would repeal Georgia’s Citizen’s Arrest statute. The bill would eliminate the ability for a private citizen, with some exceptions, to conduct arrests of other private citizens in the state of Georgia.

The Georgia NAACP and the Southern Center for Human Rights [SCHR] commend Governor Kemp for maintaining his commitment to being the first state in the nation to repeal its Citizen’s Arrest statute, a law rooted in a history of racism and dehumanization.

The proposed legislation, sponsored by State Representative Bert Reeves, eliminates the ability for a private citizen - except security, weight inspectors and off-duty law enforcement - to arrest another private citizen. “It is high time to repeal Georgia’s Citizen’s Arrest law,” says Marissa Dodson, Public Policy Director at SCHR. “It is unnecessary, dangerous, and has held a central role in perpetuating anti-Black vigilante violence both recently and historically.”

Georgia’s current Citizen’s Arrest statute came under fire after Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by white vigilantes on February 23, 2020 in Brunswick, Georgia. “As we approach the first anniversary of Ahmaud’s death, the JustGeorgia Coalition has been able to work with legislators and state officials to create a safer state for all Georgians, which includes, but is not limited to, repealing Citizen’s Arrest. It will continue pushing forward necessary reforms, but this is a great first step to a more just Georgia.” says Rev. James Woodall, State President of the Georgia NAACP.

“The newly-introduced bill will have to go through the entire legislative process, but we have full confidence that Governor Kemp and legislators in both chambers and both parties will be able to make this legislation into law during this session,” concludes Rev. Woodall.


About Georgia NAACP

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has had an unbroken presence in Georgia since 1917. The Georgia NAACP maintains a network of units throughout Georgia, from cities to small rural counties. The Georgia NAACP has been the most effective and consistent advocates for African American civil rights in Georgia. You can read more about the Georgia NAACP’s work and mission at

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