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Georgia police chiefs’ association backs hate crime legislation
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The Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police adopted a resolution late last month in support of legislation that “enhances and mandates the criminal sentence” in cases involving hate crimes.

The resolution adopted May 21 said the association supported this legislation that would affect the sentences “whenever the court determines beyond a reasonable doubt that the convicted perpetrator intentionally selected any victim, or damaged any property of any victim, based upon bias.”

That bias may include the victim’s “real or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, mental disability or physical disability.”

The association also supported in its resolution allowing the Georgia Crime Information Center making regulations “to ensure reports of crimes of this nature are submitted in a timely manner and properly archived.”

“The Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police support the creation of a civil process for victims to seek redress for any injury or damage to his or her property as a result of crimes of this nature,” according to the resolution.

The Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center also released a statement advocating for the passage of House Bill 426 in the Georgia General Assembly.

“We believe this is a defining moment when we, as people of faith and good will, cannot stand by in silence. We must stand up and speak out,” the policy center said in a statement. “We pray for all individuals, families, and communities enduring pain, sorrow, rage, and shock due to the impact of racial violence. We believe that faith leaders have a unique responsibility and a sacred mandate to lift up the dignity and value of all human beings.”

The bill passed in the state House of Representatives in March 2019 and then stalled. 

House Bill 426 would increase punishments when it is proven in court “beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally selected any victim or group of victims or any property as the object of the offense because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability, or physical disability of such victim or group of victims.”

If it’s a misdemeanor, it’s a minimum of three months imprisonment and a maximum $5,000 fine. A felony would require at least two years imprisonment.