ATLANTA (June 23, 2020) | Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan today urged the House to quickly pass the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights legislation that passed the Senate this morning, saying it provides much needed protections for first responders. The bill outlines protections for officers under investigation and establishes a penalty for hate crimes committed against a first responder based solely on their job.

“All Georgians want police officers who’ve committed acts of brutality or other terrible crimes to face justice for their actions,” Duncan said, “but we must not punish all first responders for the actions of a few. The vast majority of officers in this state serve us honorably and selflessly. 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.

“This legislation should enjoy widespread support, and I look forward to working with the House to pass this into law.”

The legislation does the following:

  •  Provides clear standards and procedures when officers are under investigation, interrogated or arrested.
  • Allows officers to pursue actions in civil court when they are wrongfully accused by a person or group who knowingly submits a false report.
  • Adds offense of “bias motivated intimidation” for first responders, defined as when a person maliciously targets a first responder, causing serious bodily harm or destroying property, based solely on their actual or perceived employment as a first responder.

“There’s nothing in this legislation that protects a first responder who has acted outside the law, and the Senate is committed to studying police reforms that will provide clear guidelines on use of force with the aim of eliminating the horrifying deaths and injuries we’ve witnessed across the country. We do need change. In order to achieve long-term progress we must cultivate an atmosphere that attracts and retains high-quality, well-trained first responders.”

Duncan said that in addition to the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights, he’s committed to passing a broader hate crimes bill through the Senate as soon as possible.