ATLANTA, Ga. (WTVM) - The shooting death of Ahmaud Abery in Brunswick has struck a chord across Georgia and the nation.
Now, one Georgia lawmaker is pushing for the final passage of the Georgia Hate Crimes Act in the wake of the unarmed jogger’s death.
Representative Calvin Smyre of Columbus says getting House Bill 426 passed will be a top priority for him when they return for the end of the legislative session.
He notes that while the two men arrested deserve a fair trial, what happened to Abery “has become too much of a norm in today’s society.”
Rep. Smyre’s full statement is as follows:
“In light of what has transpired in Brunswick and the horrific video showing of the death of Ahmaud Arbery, House Bill 426 will be a top priority for me when we return for the conclusion of the 2020 legislative session. While we will demand and expect fairness and integrity going forward in the judicial process that follows, what happened to Ahmaud Arbery has become too much of a norm in today’s society; these circumstances have to be corrected and stopped, for we know that more crimes of hate will follow.
“It is time for Georgia to get out of the dark ages as one of four states without a hate crimes act. As a bipartisan co-sponsor of HB 426 I say, ‘now is the time for us to act by calling on the State Senate to pass HB 426.’ We have been trying to get a hate crimes act passed for three years. House Bill 426 has been carefully crafted not to impose mandatory minimums or reverse the bipartisan progress made in criminal justice reform, but to announce that now is the time for our state to assert with one voice that crimes of violence and prejudice against our neighbors will be classified and condemned for what they are: hate crimes.”