Photo: GMA
  /  06.10.2020


In an emotional video published in The New York Times’ Op-Ed section, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones made a powerful plea to Georgia lawmakers to pass a bill that would make hate crimes illegal in the state. According to The New York Times, Georgia is one of four states that does not have a hate crime law, which could impact sentencing for Arbery’s killers.

“On February 23, my son Ahmaud Arbery went out for a jog. Ahmaud would go out for a jog everyday,” Cooper-Jones began the clip. “He was followed by three white men, who chased him and killed him in the street. He was unarmed, but he was Black.”

Last week, a preliminary hearing for Arbery’s case revealed that Travis McMichael, who followed Arbery with his father Gregory and William Bryan, called Arbery a “fu*king ni**er” after fatally shooting him.

“To me, this was clearly a hate crime, but Georgia is one of four states without a hate crime law,” Cooper-Jones continued. “If Georgia had a hate crime law, Ahmaud’s killers could face additional sentencing for murdering my son because of the color of his skin.”

Arbery’s mother also commented on the ongoing protests against police brutality, in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

“As we’ve seen in the protests for George Floyd, Ahmaud is just one of the many Black lives that has been lost due to hatred,” she said. “Georgia lawmakers, pass a hate crime bill.”

Cooper-Jones also recounted past cases in Georgia, where many victims have been killed or injured due to their race, religion or sexual orientation. A hate crime law, she explained, would protect all Georgia residents from being harmed due to prejudice.

“My son’s murder was not the only crime in George that was motivated by prejudice,” she said. “Ahmaud wasn’t killed because he was committing a crime. So, why would he have been targeted, if it wasn’t just for hate?”

Georgia lawmakers are set to go back into session on Monday (June 15) and will have the chance to decide whether or not to put a hate crime bill up to a vote.

“To have this passed in the name of Ahmaud wouldn’t bring him back, but it would mean so much to me,” Cooper-Jones concluded. “[It would mean] him leaving me did change something.”

Thursday’s (June 4) preliminary hearing in the Arbery case was meant to determine whether probable cause can support the criminal charges against the McMichaels and Bryan. Currently, all three men are being held in Georgia’s Glynn County Jail and have not entered their pleas.

Watch Arbery’s mother’s powerful video here.



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