Bailed out and gunned down

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It just isn’t safe to skip bail anymore, the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION reports. Ten months after Georgia passed a law reining in overzealous bounty hunters, a North Carolina bail recovery agent entered the state while tracking a 22-year-old man who’d violated his probation on charges of eluding police and driving with a revoked license.

The bounty hunter, 38-year-old Edward Tatum, found his prey in a DeKalb County apartment complex. The fugitive jumped in his car. The bounty hunter shot. The car crashed. The man died. The price on his head — er, the posted bond — was $2,500. Tatum is now facing murder charges.

As private citizens permitted to make arrests, bounty hunters enjoy a certain freedom of action since defendants forfeit some rights when they sign a bondsman’s agreement. According to an accompanying Journal-Constitution feature, one bounty hunter might buy his captive a six pack for the ride to jail; another might toss him in the trunk for the long haul back.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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