Beating Of Army Reserve Officer Demonstrates Need For Georgia Hate Crimes Law
Atlanta, Ga, September 16, 2009 …The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called the shocking beating of Army reservist Tashawnea Hill at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Morrow, Georgia, a vivid example of why Georgia needs a hate crimes law.
According to Morrow police, Hill was kicked and beaten by a perpetrator who screamed racial slurs at her as he hit her with his fists and feet. The attacker was apparently provoked when Hill asked him to be careful that the door to the restaurant did not hit her 7-year-old daughter as they stood at the entrance to the Cracker Barrel.
Troy Dale West was arrested for battery, disorderly conduct and cruelty to children in the first degree.
"Police reports make it clear that this incident escalated to an assault because Tashawnea Hill is African American" said Bill Nigut, ADL Southeast Regional Director. "Because of the vicious nature of this assault, the perpetrator should be subject to enhanced penalties in this case; and yet Georgia remains one of only five states in the nation that does not have a hate crimes law on its books.
"Georgians deserve the reassurance of knowing that our state takes special notice of the heinousness of a crime of this nature."
ADL singled out for commendation Morrow Police Captain James Callaway, who immediately referred the case to the FBI Civil Rights Division to have the authority to investigate the assault as a hate crime under federal law.
ADL has lobbied the Georgia General Assembly for passage of a hate crimes bill for the past five years, but have failed to win enough support to pass legislation.
"We will be back pushing for a hate crimes law again in the 2010 session, and hope that this time, legislators will support this crucial vehicle for fighting violent bigotry," said Nigut.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.