Members of a self-proclaimed “New Black Liberation Militia,” based out of Atlanta, GA, say they plan to attempt a citizen’s arrest of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who confessed to fatally shooting the unarmed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fl last month.
One of the leaders of this group, which is “a multi-faith, spiritual,cultural, scientific, and political instructional institution,” according to its website, is a top student of the late Dr. Khallid Abdul Muhammad, a controversial National Spokesman and Representative of the Nation of Islam.
Najee Muhammad, who calls himself “the national commander and minister of the New Black Liberation Institute and Militia,” was active in protesting the execution of Troy Davis, who was convicted of and executed for the August 19, 1989 murder of police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah, GA.
WATCH COMMANDER MUHAMMAD AT TROY DAVIS PROTEST:
The militia’s website also states their mission is to “focus on saving and nurturing black children, rebuilding our communities, supporting black women, remaking the black man, re-instilling self respect and self awareness of black people, and re-instilling love for our people, ourselves and our communities.”
The law on citizen’s arrests varies with each state, and Florida is one that relies on common law. It states that a civilian can apprehend a person who he or she has witnessed commit a felony crime — usually as a last resort, in the case that the police have yet to arrive and the alleged criminal is fleeing the scene.
Members of The New Black Liberation Militia plan to make a citizen’s arrest of 28-year-old George Zimmerman, since local police have yet to detain him.
“We’ll find him. We’ve got his mug shot and everything,” said Muhammad.
The problem is, only two people are known to have witnessed the incident — Zimmerman, who insists that he only acted in self defense (as per stand your ground law), and Martin, who was killed.
State prosecutors will decide whether Zimmerman met the legal standard for the state’s self-defense law, which allows wide latitude in using deadly force if someone feels reasonably threatened, or if he shot Martin unlawfully and should be arrested.
Members of the Black Liberation Militia (or anyone who conducts a citizen arrest) could then face criminal charges themselves, due to the fact that Zimmerman has yet to be charged with any crime pending Florida investigation.
In the Florida Court of Appeals case Ripley v. The State of Florida (2005), it was made clear that the citizen’s arrest law is identical to an officer arresting someone outside of their normal jurisdiction.