The mother of the 25-year-old Black jogger who was shot and killed in Georgia is pushing for legislation for hate crime laws. Wanda Cooper-Jones spoke out in a New York Times opinion video on Tuesday.
In the video, Cooper-Jones urges state legislators to introduce hate crime legislation when they return from recess on Monday. This effort comes as we learn new details related to the killing of her son Ahmaud Arbery.
According to the man who recorded the video of Arbery’s killing, William Bryan, Arbery’s killer Travis McMichael called the young Black man a “f—ing n—er after he shot him dead. Bryan was arrested in connection with the murder along with Travis McMichael’s father George who was wielding a weapon from the truck in the video.
Georgia, Wyoming, South Carolina, and Arkansas are the only 4 states with no laws against hate crimes. “If Georgia had a hate crime law Ahmaud’s killers could face additional sentencing for murdering my son for the color of his skin,” Cooper-Jones says in the video.
Cooper-Jones cites other examples of hate crimes that have happened in the state like Ronald Trey Peters who was killed because he was gay, Nazi symbolism that was spray-painted on a local high school, and the planned knife attack on a Black church by a 16-year-old white girl.
Lawmakers in Georgia return on Monday, June 15 and have the opportunity to introduce a hate crime bill. The Georgia General Assembly is currently sitting on House Bill 426 that would add a mandatory minimum 2 years onto a felony prison sentencing for a hate crime.