Hannah Riley, communications manager for nonprofits, called the move "sneaky and terrible ”in a Twitter thread on Tuesday morning. She said:
The new language creates exceptional rights for police officers to be investigated, including: 1. having all witnesses questioned before the officer is interrogated; 2. to be informed of the nature of the investigation prior to the interrogation of the official 3. to be interrogated at an appropriate time – preferably when the official is on duty and getting paid; 4. to receive a copy of each question and explanation asked within 72 hours; and5. without being questioned with offensive language or threats. CONTACT YOUR SENATOR!
The bill would also provide for increased penalties for those who target police officers and other first aiders. We have a script on the website that you can use. This can be heard at 11 a.m. TODAY. We have to flood them with emails and calls. https://t.co/bki4bQASJr
– Hannah Riley (@hannahcrileyy), June 23, 2020
The discussion of the bill takes place amidst nationwide anger over the death of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. Arbery, A black man was unarmed when a white former police officer and his son reportedly followed him, accused him of breaking into a house in South Georgia, and killed him on February 23, 2020.
Another unarmed black man, Floyd, died in police custody on May 25 after a white Minneapolis policeman knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. Less than a month later, Georgia demonstrators went back on the streets after the Atlanta police died on June 12 after another black man died. Rayshard Brooks was shot when he failed a sobriety test and attempted to distance himself from an Atlanta Wendy restaurant outside of Atlanta. Öfficers waited two minutes and 12 seconds before calling for help when Brooks was shot, Fulton's district attorney Paul Howard said Wednesday when he announced the charges against the two police officers involved.
"Republicans who include law enforcement as a protected class in a hate crime law show that they are not interested in meaningful hate crime legislation, but prefer to use it against black Georgians," the Georgia Democrats tweeted. #gapol "
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Although the Georgian Senate voted between 34 and 20 on Tuesday to pass the law, it will return home with the new language, the Southern Center for Human Rights reported. "With hundreds of police officers avoiding law enforcement for murdering people in GA, lawmakers should work to improve accountability, coherence, and fairness in investigating misconduct," tweeted the Southern Center for Human Rights.
Update: HB 838 has just been passed in Senate 34 to 20. Section 5, the "Peace Officers' Bill of Rights" has been deleted. The language of hate crimes is still in.
– Southern Center for Human Rights (@southerncenter) June 23, 2020