SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In the wake of the tragic shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery by individuals later charged with murder in Georgia, state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, has introduced legislation to repeal a law that permits any person to arrest another person when they have reasonable grounds to believe they are breaking the law.

“We saw in Georgia what happens when residents decide to play police and take the law into their own hands,” Ford said. “We don’t live in the Wild West, and it is simply inexcusable for residents to play judge, jury and executioner on a whim. Our law enforcement officials go through extensive training on use of force, probable cause and other possible arrest aspects. These professionals are the only individuals who should handle arrests and represent our justice system.”

Under current state law, an individual can arrest another person when that private individual has reasonable grounds to believe that an offense other than an ordinance violation is being committed. Ford’s House Bill 5778 would repeal this law, emphasizing the need for residents to contact police and let trained law enforcement handle possible crimes.

Ford’s bill follows the February shooting death of Arbery, a 25-year old black man slain by two white men while he was jogging. The armed men charged with killing Arbery have argued that Arbery fit the description of a man who was responsible for burglaries in their neighborhood.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a surge in private firearm purchases in Illinois,” Ford said. “I’m concerned that the risk of a tragedy, like the one in Georgia, is increasing. Let’s update our laws to match modern realities, and work to prevent a tragedy before it happens.”

Rep. La Shawn FordRep. La Shawn Ford

8th District

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