CBS46 described Georgia’s new ‘police protection law‘ as giving police more rights.
“The start of the new year means new laws take effect including one that aims to give officers more rights and protect them from community harassment.”
After a year of police reform protests, law enforcement not only wants to beat, pepper spray and tear gas protesters, now they want to protect themselves from community harassment!
According to Atlanta City council member Antonio Brown, this new law is a slap in the face to police reformers.
“I believe the new police protection legislation that governor Kemp signed into law is reactive and a complete slap in the face of all the community organizers, activist, local municipalities that have worked tirelessly, not just during the unrest we’ve seen over the last year but over the last decade, to bridge the divide between police and community,” Brown said.
The state of Georgia’s disturbing response to police reform protests goes far beyond a slap in the face to community organizers and activists.
The very name of House Bill 838 is offensive to liberty loving Americans’.
House Bill 838 or the “Bias Motivated Intimidation of First Responders Prosecution Act.” reads like a dystopian president Trump inspired anti-police reform law.
“A person commits the offense of bias motivated intimidation when such person maliciously and with the specific intent to intimidate, harass, or terrorize another person because of that person’s actual or perceived employment as a first responder.”
Police activists could be imprisoned for 5 years and fined $5,000.
Any person that violates subsection (b) of this Code section shall be guilty of the offense of bias motivated intimidation and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than one nor more than five years, a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.
Last year, the NAACP called it the “Police Hate Crimes Bill”
“The bill creates enhanced penalties for people who target law enforcement and other first responders. It also includes a false misconduct provision that allows police officers to sue for false misconduct claims.”
The NAACP accurately points out why this new law is so dangerous, “additionally, this bill creates enhanced penalties for people who allegedly target law enforcement and other first responders.”
Imagine facing 5 years in jail for calling cops murderers or giving a police officer the middle finger. All it would take is for a police officer to perceive a persons’ actions as harassment and the judge to agree, and low and behold they could be jailed for 5 years.
The ACLU said House Bill 838 ‘turns law enforcement into a protected class.’
“The ACLU of Georgia opposes HB 838, the addition of law enforcement as a protected class, a dangerous step to chill every Georgian’s First Amendment freedom of speech and the right to protest to redress grievances – guarantees in the U.S. Constitution.”
The ACLU is right, this new law pours salt into the wounds of all people affected by police brutality.
“This legislative action in this moment pours salt in the wounds of the Georgians of all races and backgrounds who are participating daily in protests calling for the reform of policing and expressing their support for black lives,” Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia said.
Leave it to law enforcement to turn themselves into the victims.
It is unconscionable that a civilian police force that looks and acts like an occupying army can claim to be the victim[s] of harassment after a year of Black Lives Matter protests.
As The Verge explains, “How do you show this to the world when you’re worried that the very people on the frontline protesting might become the target? How else could people know exactly how terrible this is unless it was documented like this?”
“Police officers behave the way that they [do] at these protests while dozens of cameras are streaming live, and thousands of eyes are on them, and millions more are watching through clips on Twitter and Instagram later,” reporter Dae Shae Kim Jr. says. He says seeing officers, who live in the same communities they police, violently attacking protesters disturbed him the most.
Georgia’s law and others like it must be challenged before every state turns law enforcement into a protected class that can arrest and sue citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights.