Letter to the editor,
Regarding: Hate Crimes Bill
I watched Friday as Republicans on the Georgia Senate Judiciary Committee made a mockery of the effort to pass a hate crimes bill by adding first responders as a protected class. I listened to Sen. Bill Cowsert talk longer about the “riots” in Atlanta, the burning of the Wendy’s, and people throwing water bottles at police than he did about the lynching and terrorizing of brown and black people in Georgia, the desecration of Jewish synagogues and schools, and the beatings suffered by gay and transgender people.
No one is born a police officer. No one can never not be a police officer, and Georgia does not have a long history of oppressing police officers. But Georgia does have a long history of its law enforcement officers helping private citizens lynch black, brown and Jewish people, engage in ethnic cleansing (running black people out of Forsyth County and stealing their property), and arresting them for minor offenses. In other words, metaphorically keeping their knees on the necks of those the hate crimes bill was meant to protect. Further, law enforcement officers are already protected by other laws. All this does is give prosecutors a vehicle for going after protestors.
This effort, led by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, and aided and abetted by at least Sens. Cowsert, Strickland, and Kennedy (I could not tell who else was at the hearing), is a cynical slap at the face of all those who have suffered from hate crimes, not the least of whom is Ahmaud Arbery, whose case would have been buried by two state actors (district attorneys) but for the release of a video.
Libby Gozansky, Atlanta