After two decades of fits and starts of enacting hate crime legislation, Georgia this week passed one such bill, four months to the day after the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. The Georgia legislature passed a hate crimes bill on Tuesday that will allow stronger criminal penalties for anyone who targets a victim based on perceived race, color or another type of bias.

Under HB 426, any person who intentionally selects any victim because of the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability or physical disability could be convicted of either a designated misdemeanor or a felony. If the offense is a designated misdemeanor, the defendant could be imprisoned anywhere between six to 12 months, and fined a maximum of $5,000. If the offense is a felony, the defendant could be imprisoned for at least two years and fined a maximum of $5,000. In a statement, Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said her family “thanks everyone for not letting my son’s death be in vain.”


(By -Anupama Soumya)