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Your Voice Needed: Tell Your Senator to Vote NO on HB 838

In a sneaky last-minute move, Senate Republicans are trying to circumvent the legislative process, by hijacking House Bill 838 to add outrageous protections for police officers under investigation, and provide a special “hate crime” for offenses against cops and other first responders.

HB 838 is expected to be heard on the floor of the Senate today.

The new language in HB 838 establishes extraordinary rights for police officers who are under investigation, including:

1. to have all witnesses interviewed before the officer is interrogated;

2. to receive notice about the nature of the investigation before the officer is interrogated;

3. to be interrogated at a reasonable time – preferably when the officer is on duty and will be paid;

4. to receive a copy of every question asked and statement made within 72 hours; and

5. to be interrogated without offensive language or threats.

HB 838 creates an interrogation process for police officers with significant protections that they do not deserve and no one else is afforded. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution found that between 2010 and 2016 more than 180 Georgians were killed by a police officer, but no formal charges were ever brought. HB 838 further reduces accountability by creating new rights for officers who are being investigated — rights that are not being granted to anyone else. How, then, can lawmakers expect Georgia residents to trust an investigative process that depends on who is being accused? The simple answer is they cannot.

Shockingly, HB 838 also creates a hate crime for cops and other first responders. The bill would provide enhanced penalties for people who target cops and other first responders. There is no need to increase punishments for people who commit crimes against first responders because Georgia law already provides adequate protections as well as enhanced penalties when first responders are the victims of crime.

Please contact the Senate leadership and your senator now and demand a NO VOTE on HB 838. Email addresses, phone numbers, and Twitter handles below.

**Suggested Script for Calls and Emails**

“My name is [NAME] and I live in [HOME CITY]. I am calling/writing to express my concerns about the police protections added to HB838. Police officers who are being investigated should be subject to the same interrogation process as everyone else. Police officers are responsible for the safety of our communities, our families, and our children. It is because of this responsibility that we should hold them to a higher standard of integrity and accountability, particularly when they are accused of wrongdoing.

It is impossible for the community to trust an investigation when the process depends on whether the accused wears a badge. Considering the hundreds of police officers that have avoided prosecution for killing people in Georgia, lawmakers should instead be working on ways to improve accountability, consistency and fairness in the investigation of wrongdoing in our state, Moreover, police officers and first responders are already entitled to a number of protections in the law. An additional penalty for crimes against first responders is not necessary.

I urge you to VOTE NO on HB838. This bill gives unfair advantages to undeserving cops and will further erode community trust in law enforcement. We don’t need any more special privileges for cops.”

Take action here:

Twitter Handles:

  • Geoff Duncan – @GeoffDuncanGA
  • Butch Miller – @Butch_Miller
  • Mike Dugan – @mdugan30
  • Steve Gooch – @StephenGooch
  • John Kennedy – @johnfkennedyga
  • John Wilkinson – @senjwilkinson
  • Steve Henson – @SenSteveHenson
  • Harold Jones – @SenHaroldJones
  • Gloria Butler – @SenGloriaButler
  • Emmanuel Jones – @emanueldjones
  • Nan Orrock – @SenNanOrrock