New York, NY, November 24, 2021 … ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt issued the following statement today after a jury found the three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery were guilty of murder:
“The pain and loss resulting from Ahmaud Arbery’s murder can never be rectified, but this is a significant moment of accountability and justice. The men who murdered Mr. Arbery were tried and found guilty of the crime, sending a resounding message across Georgia and the United States that racial violence — especially that committed under the false guise of vigilantism — is unacceptable. We hope that his killers also will be tried on the federal hate crime, attempting kidnapping and other charges filed against them by the U.S. Department of Justice.”
“Mr. Arbery did not die in vain. He inspired a movement that led to the passage of the new state hate crime law in Georgia, one that will protect individuals from marginalized communities when they are victimized by hate. We hope the verdict will bring Mr. Arbery’s family solace and look forward to continuing our partnerships with civil rights organizations to advance the goal of achieving justice for all.”
Mr. Arbery’s Impact on the Passage of Georgia’s Hate Crime Law:
The passage of the HB 426, known as the Georgia Enhanced Penalties for Hate Crimes Act, came in June 2020 after the bill had been stalled for years, gaining bipartisan support from Georgia lawmakers in the wake of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder. Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, applauded the legislation’s passage, stating, “My family thanks everyone for not letting my son's death be in vain. I know he is still with us and this law is evidence of that and I look forward to being present when it is signed.”
For more than a decade, ADL founded and led a coalition of over thirty-five advocacy groups known as Hate Free Georgia to advocate for a state hate crime law. Before HB 426’s passage, Georgia was one of only five in the nation without a hate crime law.
The law provides stronger penalties for individuals who target victims based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability, or physical disability. It also requires law enforcement agencies to collect data on hate crime investigations and provide reports to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.