The Police Act Protection Law

The Police Act Protection Law

On Wednesday August 5th, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into a new law that provides law enforcement officers with some additional legal protection. Referred to as The Police Act Protection Law, this is an addition to House Bill 838.

However, it’s a step that has generated a good deal of criticism. Primarily from the national anti-police brutality movement.

It’s no secret that the country is going through some difficult times right now. There is an outcry for police officers to be more accountable for their actions. Which has led some people to see Bill 838 as a step in the other direction.

What Does the Police Act Protection Law Mean?

The Gov. made a change to an existing house bill to add more protection to law enforcement agencies in the state.

Police officers were protected as a class on the hate crimes legislation bill 426. This has now moved to a separate bill – House Bill 838 – effectively creating a new crime; bias-motivated intimidation.

It’s clear that Kemp sees it as a step in the right direction and is prioritizing protecting individuals working in law enforcement and other first responders.

“House Bill 838 is a step forward as we work to protect those who are risking their lives to protect us.”

“While some vilify, target, and attack our men and women in uniform for personal or political gain. This legislation is a clear reminder that Georgia is a state that unapologetically backs the blue,” Kemp said shortly after signing off the new law.

Under the new law, it’s now a crime to cause bodily injury or more than $500 in damage to property owned by police or first responders. Along with some other actions as laid out in the bill.

Crimes under this bill are punishable by one to five years in prison, and fines up to $5,000. Sentences will stack atop any other criminal convictions, and each violation handled as a separate crime.

This means some lofty sentences are possible if someone racks up a stack of violations. Which can easily be done while committing vandalism or rioting-related actions.

What This Means for Law Enforcement and First Responders in Georgia

In plain language, anyone found to be committing a crime against a police officer can be arrested for a hate crime. This includes harassing, intimidating, or harming someone because they are a police officer. This is now classified as a bias-motivated crime.

Also commonly called a hate crime.

This is why some groups, like the Georgia NAACP, are referring to the bill as the “Police Hate Crimes Bill”.


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