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Demonstrators outside Governor's Mansion say they want to 'send a message' about HB 838

Groups against it called it a "Police Hate Crimes Bill."

ATLANTA — A group of demonstrators gathered outside of the Governor's Mansion on Monday, demanding for the governor to veto House Bill 838.

This piece of legislation would enhance protections for law enforcement officers, but there is a reason why many civil rights groups and activists don't support it. 

When it was filed in January, the purpose was to change the name of the Office of Public Safety Officer Support within the state Department of Public Safety to the Office of Public Safety Support. 

However, it took on a whole new meaning by happenstance through the politicking over the hate crime bill. Republicans in the Georgia Senate included first responders, which include police. As a kind of compromise, Senate Republicans removed the language from HB 426, and instead wrote provisions that enhanced protections for police officers and other first responders into H.B. 838.

If you're found to "intimidate, harass or terrorize" a police officer, because they are a police officer, you would be guilty of a bias-motivated crime - i.e., a hate crime.

That particular language is why groups like the Georgia NAACP derisively call it the "Police Hate Crimes Bill."

About 75 to 100 demonstrators gathered outside of the Governor's Mansion Monday evening with their signs. They said they wanted to "send a message" to Gov. Brian Kemp about the bill. 

11Alive's Hope Ford spotted one person with a flag that said "Black Lives Matter". 

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