COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Following the recent allegations surrounding Empire actor Jussie Smollett, hate crimes have been in the headlines lately and Columbus attorneys are taking the opportunity to discuss these bias motivated crimes.
This all also comes after the FBI says hate crime rates in 2017 were at their highest in decades.
“The problem with hate crimes is that it requires a high level of hate and bias based simply on someone’s sex, religion, national orientation, sexual orientation. This is the reason’s why we should not allow people to perpetrate these crimes," said Wright Legal Group managing partner, Katonga Wright.
Today, 45 have laws against hate crimes, but 5 states, including Georgia, have no hate crime laws and some officials say this can be a problem.
A recent bill could allow punishment for a hate crime.
“That bill would punish someone for a misdemeanor hate crime with anywhere from three months up to a year in prison and fines as high as $5,000. If it’s a felony hate crime it would be punishable by a minimum of two years. So, at least we’re moving in the right direction,” said Wright.