Florida Republican Supports Outlawing Citizen’s Arrests

Florida Republican Supports Outlawing Citizen’s Arrests

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
December 12, 2023

Florida Senator Corey Simon (R) has filed a bill to outlaw the practice of ‘Citizen’s arrests’.

Senator Simon’s bill is the companion to Miami Gardens Representative Christopher Benjamin’s (D-107) proposal. 

A citizen’s arrest occurs when a non-law enforcement individual, or an off-duty law enforcement officer, apprehends a suspected criminal and detains him until law enforcement arrives.  

While non-law enforcement citizen’s arrests are not specifically mentioned in Florida Statutes, they are considered legal under the common law tradition. 

If passed, Simon’s bill would ban citizens’ arrests executed by private citizens. Even within their own homes, private citizens would be barred from using, or threatening to use, deadly force to detain a burglar. 

Citizen’s arrests have grown increasingly controversial after Ahmaud Arbery, a black man, was shot dead after being chased down by three white men attempting to conduct a citizen’s arrest. 

Outrage following Arbery’s death channeled arguments for outlawing citizens’ arrests. Opponents see the practice as the horrid heritage of the antebellum south, where private citizens would hunt down runaway slaves. 

Yet, citizen’s arrests have been around for centuries, dating back prior to the creation of the United States. In effect, every single state in the country recognizes some legal form for private individuals to arrest another. 

Simon and Benjamin already jointly attempted to pass identical legislation last term, but failed

The year before, Simon was joined by Miami Senator Jason Pizzo(D) in another unsuccessful try. 

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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