In an extremely rare Bi-partisan act, Republicans in Georgia led the repeal of the state’s 1863 Jim Crow era “Citizens Arrest” law also referred to as the “Cobb Code” for it’s chief architect who was the brother of a KKK founder. The bill passed the legislature in Atlanta by an overwhelming bi-partisan vote, unanimously in the 169 member House and with only one down vote in the 52 seat Senate.
The 158 year old law came under scrutiny last year after prosecutors cited it as justification to drop charges against Gregory and Travis McMichael and William Bryan in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. The McMichaels armed themselves and confronted Arbery believing that he was fleeing a burglary, Travis and Ahmaud struggled for Travis’ shotgun and Travis fired three times striking Arbery in the torso at point blank range. He died at the scene.
The three men were investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, arrested and indicted on state charges after the local DA dropped charges, they are awaiting trial. Gregory McMichael was a retired career investigator for the District Attorney’s Office and a former Police Officer. The DA McMichael worked for, Jackie Johnson recused herself from the investigation.
A Stubborn Legacy of the KKK
The “Cobb code” was so named for Democrat Thomas R. R. Cobb, who served on the first Georgia code commission of 1858. Cobb was an ardent secessionist, one of the founders of the Confederacy and a Brigadier General in the CSA Army who met his end at the battle of Fredericksburg in 1862 from a Union artillery shell. His brother Howell a former Speaker of the US House of Representatives and the Governor of Georgia went on to become a founder of the KKK until his death in 1869. But the Cobb’s twisted legal legacy lived on.
The Repeal of the ‘Cobb Code’
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution,
“HB 479 would repeal citizen’s arrest from state law while still allowing employees at businesses, those conducting business on someone else’s property, security officers, private investigators and inspectors at truck scales to detain someone they believe has committed a crime. The bill also would allow law enforcement officers to make arrests outside their jurisdictions.”
The Independent reported, Republican State Representative Bert Reeves said: “We have created structure around what this detention looks like. There are rules. You have to have probable cause. It has to be reasonable. You have to call the police in a reasonable time or release that person.”
The new Georgia code is less broad ranging and more restrictive on the use of deadly force, which is governed through the existing Stand-your-ground law which remains in force and does not require a person under threat to retreat. The previous statute allowed Georgians witnessing a crime to arrest the offender if the crime “is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge.”
If the crime in question is a felony or if the offender attempts to flee they were empowered to arrest them “upon reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion.”
Reeves explained: “Deadly force is only permissible to be used if you are defending yourself or somebody else against a forcible felony or the threat of substantial bodily injury or death.”
A Single Republican Vote In Opposition
Once signed into law HB 479 will make Georgia the only state in the Union without a “Citizens’ arrest” law. New York and South Carolina have introduced similar legislation. The bill was opposed by Republican Senator Frank Ginn. Ginn expressed in debate Monday that he didn’t feel comfortable supporting a measure that wouldn’t allow him to detain someone he saw stealing property from a neighbor’s home. Georgia’s stand-your-ground law only allows citizens to intervene if a crime they are witnessing is “a forcible felony or to defend someone else from receiving bodily harm.”
Its difficult to fault Ginn with his trepidation and hesitancy. But one thing is for certain: it’s rather difficult for Democrats to simultaneously decry the badly needed recent Georgia Election reform bill as a “racist” Republican initiative, while they are in the very next stroke of the pen repealing a Jim-Crow era law that was formulated by a KKK founder and former Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. That requires some pretty intense 1984 doublethink even for the leftists to attempt. Watch them try anyway.