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Protesters ask Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to veto a hate crime bill aimed at providing police with more protections under state law.

Georgia Republicans apparently think police need more tools in their arsenal to defend brutalizing Black and brown people, and legislators were willing to bind much-needed hate crime legislation in the state to exactly that principle.

 Following a failed last-ditch effort to sneak police and other first responders into a hate crimes bill meant to protect marginalized groups, the Georgia GOP settled for separating their measure in a bill that basically considers intimidating, harassing, or terrorizing a police officer a hate crime. The gotcha is that the bill Republicans repurposed to serve police brutality was originally just a measure to rename the Office of Public Safety Officer Support, according to the legislation drafted in January. 

Sadly, to get hate crime legislation passed with House Bill 426, both branches of the state’s legislature also passed what the Georgia NAACP is calling the "Police Hate Crimes Bill." Now—heaven help us—it’s up to Gov. Brian Kemp to reject the measure. 

He signed House Bill 426 into law, and in a joint statement Monday with Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, applauded the measure as “an important, necessary step forward for Georgia … Today we reaffirmed our desire to put progress ahead of politics,” he said of the law that goes into effect July 1.

About 100 protesters rallied outside the governor's mansion Monday to urge him to keep that same energy and veto the “Police Hate Crimes Bill,” or House Bill 838, according to 11 Alive. The bill would allow first responders to sue those who file a false report against police officers. Violators guilty of “bias motivated intimidation” could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, according to the legislation. "I'm a Black woman in America. They're going to always feel intimidated by me," one protestor told 11 Alive. “So what, you’re going to sue me for intimidating you?”

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Duncan, however, kept his focus on police in a Georgia Public Broadcasting article. "At a time when officers feel under siege when police fear politically motivated prosecution when extreme voices are calling to 'defund the police,' our state must stand up for those who put their lives on the line for us," he said.

RELATED: What does defund the police actually mean? Here's what protesters and activists are talking about

Fair Fight, an election reform organization, called the police bill "one of the most expansive police protections bills in the country" in a tweet Friday. It "disincentivizes" filing misconduct claims against officers and could be used by "corrupt officers for retaliation against citizens seeking justice," the organization explained.

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Protestors in front of Governor’s mansion want a veto of #hb838, which says if you're found to "intimidate, harass or terrorize" an officer, because they are an officer, you would be guilty of a bias-motivated crime. The @Georgia_NAACP call it the Police Hate Crime Bill. #11alive pic.twitter.com/1hXdSGuEH6

— Hope Ford (@hope_iam) June 29, 2020

"As @GovKemp prepares to sign the overdue and much needed hate crimes bill HB 426 today, he should prove that his willingness to sign HB 426 isn’t hypocrisy by vetoing the dangerous police protections expansions bill, HB 838," Fair Fight said Friday.

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We oppose #HB838 which classifies crimes against people motivated by bias against occupational status (such as peace officers & first responders) as a hate crime.

We call on Gov. Kemp to veto the politically cynical & substantively flawed #HB838 #gapol

Full statement⬇️ pic.twitter.com/B4fSUTrtPe

— Georgia House Democrats (@GAHouseDems) June 29, 2020

RELATED: Georgia GOP hijacks hate crimes legislation in 'sneaky' ploy to pass 'killer cop coverup bill'

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Georgia Police: 1 Dead in Fiery Crash

NORCROSS, Ga. (AP) — A driver died Wednesday morning after a fiery crash on a Georgia interstate, authorities said.

Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the crashed happened around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday on Interstate-85.

The crash involved a a truck and an SUV. The truck caught fire after the crash and the driver had to be freed from the vehicle, Pihera said.

One of the drivers died on the way to the hospital but Pihera didn't specify which driver.

An officer was injured during the rescue effort. He was hospitalized and later released.

Details regarding the crash and the other driver weren't immediately released.

The crash was cleared just around 5:30 a.m.

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Tags: Georgia

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