Jun 26, 20202 min
In response to Hate Crimes Bill Ceremony and memory of every Black Georgian unjustly killed.
ATLANTA | As Georgia celebrates the historic moment of passing a Hate Crimes law and honored the life of Rayshard Brooks at his home-going celebration, the General Assembly simultaneously passed HB838, a dangerous bill that would further create a toxic divide in our state while further fueling the criminalization and violence against Black people.
HB838, also referred to as the Police Hate Crimes Bill, was a compromise between Senate Republicans that placed the murder of Black people in juxtaposition to that of law enforcement officers.
Additionally, this bill creates enhanced penalties for people who allegedly target law enforcement and other first responders. It also includes a “false misconduct” provision that allows police officers to sue for false misconduct claims. This would be a deterrent for persons to file legitimate claims of misconduct. [See More: https://www.schr.org/your-voice-needed-tell-your-senator-to-vote-no-on-hb-838/]
“Though we stand in full support of all law enforcement, we believe that HB838 is more dangerous to our community than HB426 is good. To see the legislature prioritize HB 838 instead of repealing citizens arrest is heartbreaking and does not do justice for my son,” says Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery.
“This compromise in the political process will forever ring throughout history as a signal that Black lives are a bargaining chip toward a political end and dead, black bodies are a expendable commodity in the halls of legislative power,” adds Rev James Woodall, State President of the Georgia NAACP.
As we move forward from this legislative session, the Georgia NAACP remains open to continued dialogue between Governor Brian Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston to ensure that there is a robust legislative package in January that addresses codified racism and will move Georgia in a direction that all people will truly be protected.