Activists concerned over APD’s use of ‘Civil Arrest’ in social media post

A state law that allowed citizens to make an arrest was repealed in 2021, following the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 6:36 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Atlantans seen taking the law into their own hands. A group of men chasing down someone accused of stealing car parts, surrounding him until police arrived. And those citizens were commended by Atlanta Police on social media.

But it wasn’t just this incident with a suspected thief that caught attention, it was also the Atlanta Police Department’s social media post and its title.

APD titled the post seen on social media, “APD Responds to Citizen’s Arrest of Thief.”

In the same post, Atlanta police seemingly commended the citizens for their action, saying on their post, “This is an example of several members of the community holding a thief accountable, and we are here for it.”

It’s that use of the phrase “Citizen’s Arrest” that has the Georgia NAACP president concerned APD sent the wrong message to the public.

“It was disturbing the language that was used, especially citizens arrest. Especially after what we have been through over the last few years with the Ahmaud Arbery case,” said Gerald Griggs, attorney, and Georgia NAACP president.

A state law that allowed citizens to make an arrest was repealed in 2021, following the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.

Under the repealed law, bystanders are generally no longer granted the right to detain people.

“It’s never a good idea to encourage citizens to take up the job of law enforcement; I just think they need to think a little bit better in the wording,” said Griggs.

CBS 46 News reached out to APD explaining some of the concerns. They said they have revised the post, removing the phrase “Citizen Arrest.” Their new post also removes the line thanking citizens for their service.

“Hopefully this is a learning experience, and we move forward. We do not want to have another occurrence of what happened to our dear brother Ahmaud,” said Griggs.

CBS46 News also spoke with APD by phone, asking what should a person do if they witness a crime. APD said do not intervene and call police.

Activists concerned over APD’s use of “Civil Arrest” in social media post
Activists concerned over APD’s use of “Civil Arrest” in social media post(WGCL)
Activists concerned over APD’s use of “Civil Arrest” in social media post
Activists concerned over APD’s use of “Civil Arrest” in social media post(WGCL)
Activists concerned over APD’s use of “Civil Arrest” in social media post
Activists concerned over APD’s use of “Civil Arrest” in social media post(WGCL)
Activists concerned over APD’s use of “Civil Arrest” in social media post
Activists concerned over APD’s use of “Civil Arrest” in social media post(WGCL)