source: NPR News
published: 26 June 2020
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday signed a hate crimes bill into law. The killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man shot dead while jogging in February, drew nationwide attention and energized efforts to pass this law.
Ahead of the signing on Friday, Kemp called House Bill 426 a “silver lining” amid difficult and stormy times.
“There are plenty of disagreements and division, but today we stand together as Republicans and Democrats, Black and white, male and female … to affirm a simple but powerful motto, Georgia is a state too great to hate,” Kemp said.
Until Friday, Georgia had been one of four states without a hate crimes law, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. This type of law criminalizes acts motivated by aspects of a victim’s identity such as race, religion, sexual orientation or disability. The Georgia Supreme Court had struck down a previous law in 2004. Georgia Public Broadcasting reported the state’s high court had ruled that the law was too vague.
Three white men, including a retired police officer, have been indicted in connection with Arbery’s death and charged with felony murder. The Justice Department said in May it is assessing evidence to determine if hate crime charges were appropriate.