Ahmaud Arbery's mother urges lawmakers to pass a hate crime bill in NYT op-ed video

Ahmaud Arbery's mother urges lawmakers to pass a hate crime bill in NYT op-ed video
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Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed while jogging in Brunswick, Ga., is calling on the state to pass a hate crime bill. 

Arbery was killed on Feb. 23 by two men who believed Arbery to be a suspect in a recent string of break-ins in the area. The two men, a father and son, were not arrested until May. 

Richard Dial, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assistant special agent in charge of the case, said during testimony that one of the men used a racial slur after shooting Arbery.

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“To me, this was clearly a hate crime,” Cooper-Jones said in a New York Times op-ed video. “If Georgia had a hate crime law, Ahmaud’s killers could face additional sentences for murdering my son for the color of his skin.”

The Georgia legislature goes back into session on June 15. Georgia is one of only four states in the country without a hate crime law. Federal prosecutors have also opened a review of the case to determine if a federal hate crime was committed.

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R) told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he is “more committed to a hate-crimes law than ever” after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody, sparking protests in cities across the country. 

“As we can see in the protests about George Floyd, Ahmaud is just one of the many black lives that has been lost due to hatred,” Cooper-Jones said.

Cooper-Jones noted that a hate crime statute would also protect those who were targeted for their sexuality or religion. 

"Ahmaud wasn't killed because he was doing a crime. So, why would he have been targeted, if it wasn't just for hate?" she said.