Citizen’s Arrest Laws: Ahmaud Arbery

Citizen’s Arrest Law

  • The Glynn County Police Department initially made no arrests in the Arbery case.  Watching the body cam videos of the officers who arrived on the scene, several things are notable.
  • The officers never once thought they were in danger from the three men who had just hunted down another man and killed him in the street.
  • Even though these officers testified that officer safety was paramount in such scenes, they were obviously not in the least afraid of the three men.
  • None of the men were even searched to see if they had weapons.  They were not separated from each other when the statements at the scene were being taken.  One officer, supposedly interviewing Greg McMichael, allowed another man who has yet to be identified, to come up and interrupt his interview.  When the prosecutor asked this officer why he had allowed this to happen (contrary to all standard operating procedure) the officer said: “I can’t give you a good answer to that question.”
  • It was obvious that the officers who responded were clear that the McMichaels and Bryan were friends, colleagues, on the same side.
  • One of the officers even said, commiserating with the McMichaels, “I can imagine.”
  • When Greg McMichaels asked if the police were going to handcuff Travis (the shooter) the female officer says: “No. Why would we handcuff him?”  Why indeed.
  • Two of the three men were allowed to go home and “clean up” before driving themselves to the police station to give a statement.
  • Nobody who has any sense would believe that if the racial composition of this were changed (the hunters and killers were black and the victim was white) the outcome would have been the same.
  • Additionally, Greg McMichael was all over that crime scene.  He was photographed talking to everybody, Travis, Bryan, the coroner, the officers, Diego Perez, a neighbor.  He also let no opportunity go by in which he didn’t inform everybody that he was a former investigator for the DA’s office.
  • Greg McMichael’s race and his status as former law enforcement, did the trick. 
  • Later, after the DA recused herself (because Greg McMichael worked in her office), the case was passed on to the District Attorney in Waycross, Barnhill.
  • In a letter to the Glynn County Police Department, Mr. Barnhill, who eventually recused himself from the case, wrote that the men were in “hot pursuit” of Mr. Arbery, and that they had “solid first hand probable cause” that he was a “burglary suspect.  He therefore, recommended no arrests.
  • There were no arrests until the men themselves released the video of the killing.  One of the female neighbors who was a witness, testified that Travis McMichael talked to her about leaking the video.  But, when the released it, they didn’t get the “positive” reaction they had anticipated. 
  • These men actually thought that releasing the video of them murdering another human being was going to get a “positive response.”

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