Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday signed a police protection law opposed by civil rights groups who say it tempers the state’s hate crimes law, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
House Bill 838 makes bias-motivated intimidation of a first responder a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 and applies to anyone responsible in the death or serious bodily injury of a police officer, firefighter or EMT or anyone who caused $500 or more worth of damage to property owned by police and first responders.
“While some vilify, target and attack our men and women in uniform for personal or political gain, this legislation is a clear reminder that Georgia is a state that unapologetically backs the blue,” Kemp said.
Andrea Young, the ACLU of Georgia’s executive director, told AJC state law already includes “sufficient protections: for law enforcement.
“We are deeply disappointed that the governor would allow legislation of this sort to go into law,” she said.
“HB 838 was hastily drafted as a direct swipe at Georgians participating in the Black Lives Matter protests who were asserting their constitutional rights,” she said.
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