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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami


Cameron Rowland
probability of escape, 2020

Police car searchlight
19 5/8 × 5 7/8 × 11 3/8 in.
Museum Purchase

“[I]f any poor small free-holder or other person kill a Negro or other Slave by Night, out of the Road or Common Path, and stealing, or attempting to steal his Provision, Swine, or other Goods, he shall not be accountable for it; any Law, Statute, or Ordinance to the contrary notwithstanding.”

– ‘An Act for the Governing of Negroes,’ Barbados, 1688

“[I]f any person shall kill a slave stealing in his house or plantation by night, the said slave refusing to submit himself, such person shall not be liable to any damage or action for the same; any law, custom or usage to the contrary notwithstanding.”

– ‘An Act for the Better Ordering of Slaves,’ South Carolina, 1690

“A citizen may arrest a person in the nighttime by efficient means as the darkness and the probability of escape render necessary, even if the life of the person should be taken, when the person:

(a) has committed a felony;

(b) has entered a dwelling house without express or implied permission;

(c) has broken or is breaking into an outhouse with a view to plunder;

(d) has in his possession stolen property; or

(e) being under circumstances which raise just suspicion of his design to steal or to commit some felony, flees when he is hailed.”

– SC Code § 17-13-20 (2012), South Carolina, current statute