How you feel the victim should have been acting is entirely irrelevant. The relevant question is "Was Arbery legally allowed to act in self defense", and I don't think there is any argument against this. If there is, you certainly haven't presented it. If a fast food worker feels they are in danger and tries to grab the gun that the robber is pointing at them, the robber isn't suddenly legally allowed to shoot the worker.
What you think is best practice for victims is entirely irrelevant to the legal questions at hand...
Actually, for everyone's benefit, I'll just list out what I believe to be the relevant legal questions (If anyone has anything more, feel free to chime in):
1) Were the actors legally allowed to arrest Arbery?
2) Was Arbery legally allowed to act in self-defense?
3) Was the shooter legally allowed to act in self-defense?
Actually, questions 1 and 2 are irrelevant.
Whether or not they had a right to arrest him, they are still required to exercise this legal right in such a way that will not create an undue risk of harm. They are also not allowed to commit other crimes in their attempt to arrest him, for instance aggravated assault as they're being charged with. Even if they had the right to make a citizen's arrest, whether they are allowed to chase him in a car or pull a weapon is debateable.
It really doesn't matter whether Arbery was allowed to act in self defense. If someone does something that causes you to fear for your life, you are allowed to shoot him. Even if what they were doing is legal. Conversely, if someone is doing something illegal, you are not allowed to shoot them unless that illegal act makes you fear for your life. The victim's state of mind is irrelevant.
3 is really the only question that matters. If they acted in such a way that was either illegal, of that was reckless and created a substantial risk of injury, they cannot invoke self defense. Seems pretty clear they did. Unless we suggest that people are allowed to chase people around with loaded weapons based on hearsay evidence of a non-violent crime.
I think you are partially right about question 1, but I do think I was hinting at a legally relevant question even though I didn't express it well. A better wording would be something like "Did the actors have a legal right to arrest Arbery, and perform all of their subsequent actions including the chase and brandishing of weapons". I'm not really sure how to word it cleanly. That said, it is essentially an offshoot of question two in that the legality of the shooters actions plays into the question of whether Arbery was justified in acting in self defense.
Similarly, I also believe the second question is relevant in what it says about the third question. It is all a bit of a nesting egg situation, where the final question is the fundamental one, but the preceding two help to answer it. And the second question is important, because if the victim is legally justified in using self defense, it essentially brands the shooter as the aggressor. If the victim is not legally allowed to act in self-defense, this bolsters the shooters claim to self-defense. If the shooter is considered the aggressor, he has additional responsibilities before he is able to act in self defense himself.
To restate the questions at hand:
Was the shooter legally acting in self defense?
Sub Questions (to aid in the determination of the primary question):
Did the actors have a legal right to arrest Arbery and perform all of their subsequent actions including the chase and brandishing of weapons?
Was Arbery legally allowed to act in self-defense?
And I also want to bring in some Georgian criminal statutes:
(a) A person commits the offense of simple assault when he or she either:
Last edited by sundin13 - on 15 May 2020
(2) Commits an act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.
(a) A person commits the offense of aggravated assault when he or she assaults:
(2) With a deadly weapon or with any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury.
(b) A person is not justified in using force under the circumstances specified in subsection (a) of this Code section if he:
(2) Is attempting to commit, committing, or fleeing after the commission or attempted commission of a felony; or
(3) Was the aggressor or was engaged in a combat by agreement unless he withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to such other person his intent to do so and the other, notwithstanding, continues or threatens to continue the use of unlawful force.
I believe that the shooter would have been guilty of Aggravated Assault in this instance (before the shooting), by "committing an act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury", "with a deadly weapon or with any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury. As such, he is unable to claim self defense, both because he was in the commission of a felony (aggravated assault is a felony), and because his actions placed him in the role of the aggressor and he was not able to withdraw before lethal force was utilized.
EDIT: For some reason my formatting broke at the end of the post and it won't let me fix it. Anyways, I believe you could also argue that the shooter could be guilty of attempted false imprisonment if one felony isn't enough for you:
(a) A person commits the offense of false imprisonment when, in violation of the personal liberty of another, he arrests, confines, or detains such person without legal authority.
a) A person commits the offense of criminal attempt when, with intent to commit a specific crime, he performs any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that crime.