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Atlanta shooting, Ahmaud Arbery case are the backdrops as Georgia General Assembly returns

(Source: Atlanta Police Department)
(Source: Atlanta Police Department)(WRDW)
Published: Jun. 15, 2020 at 5:29 AM EDT
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Monday, June 15, 2020

ATLANTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Georgia General Assembly is returning to Atlanta Monday with a renewed sense of urgency following the death of a Brunswick man and protests calling for policing reforms across the state.

The death of Ahmaud Arbery has re-established the call by many for a state hate crime law.

As a result, Georgia lawmakers are being pressed to reconsider

That bill passed the state House of Representatives last year on a vote of 96 in favor to 64 against. It's up to the Senate to take action.

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan has indicated that any hate crime legislation would be "an important piece of legislation to get right."

“It is time to make it clear that Georgians will not stand for hate and violence. As we work through this legislation we want to make sure that victims of hate crimes have certain tools at their disposal. Victims of bias-motivated violence should have recourse in civil court - I want to ensure that victims have a remedy for the rights they hold as Georgians," Duncan said in a previous statement.

Georgia is one of only a handful of states that does not have a hate crime law.

Weekend shooting renews calls for police reform

But even as lawmakers move quickly to respond to the Arbery shooting through legislation, others are now wanting more following the weekend shooting death of an African-American man by a white Atlanta police officer.

Brooks, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, fell asleep in a car that was blocking the restaurant's drive-thru and was shot during a struggle with Rolfe and another officer.

Rolfe was quickly dismissed from the Atlanta police force and the second officer, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative leave. Bodycam of the incident was released Sunday in hopes of diffusing simmering tensions in a community already seeking justice for George Floyd.

Floyd, a Minneapolis man, was killed in police custody after an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department pressed his knee to Floyd's neck for over 8 minutes.

Protesters marched in Atlanta over Brooks' death, leading to 36 arrests on Saturday into Sunday morning.

According to the Associated Press, protesters will be in Atlanta Monday to call for greater police reforms following the Brooks shooting and Floyd's death.

However, the AP says time is not on the protesters' side as there are only 11 working days remaining in this year's legislative session and state leaders say that's just not enough time to make a slew of changes.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved