Doraville urges state to ‘immediately’ pass hate-crimes bill

Doraville City Hall.
Doraville City Hall.

Credit: J.D. Capelouto/jdcapelouto@ajc.com

Credit: J.D. Capelouto/jdcapelouto@ajc.com

The mayor and City Council in Doraville on Monday called on the Georgia General Assembly to pass a bill the would impose additional penalties for hate crimes.

“Failing to protect the vulnerable populations in our State and society in general is not appropriate or viable,” the city’s resolution states. It was passed unanimously.

Legislation being considered under the Gold Dome would impose additional penalties on crimes proven to have been motivated by bias.

Georgia is one of four states in the country without such a measure after a previous law was declared unconstitutional in 2004. Last year, the Georgia House narrowly passed a version of the measure, House Bill 426, that was bottled up in a Senate committee.

Doraville’s resolution mentions Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who “was pursued and shot dead by a group of white men while jogging in Brunswick” in February.

The push for a hate-crime law has also intensified after civil unrest broke out in Atlanta and other cities following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

Officials in the northern DeKalb County city called on state lawmakers to “immediately adopt a broad and comprehensive hate crimes act” when they return to the legislative session next week.

Sponsored by state Rep. Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, HB 426 would allow stiffer sentences for anyone convicted of targeting a victim based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability or physical disability.

Doraville’s resolution states it is “disappointing” that gender identity is not specifically referenced in the bill, but the city officials hope that category of people will still be protected under “gender.”

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