Residents of the county where Ahmaud Arbery was murdered could decide to defund the police, according to a new bill passed by Georgia’s General Assembly.
GEORGIA — On Friday, the Georgia House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday that would dismantle the police department in Glynn County, and yesterday the Senate approved it as well. In January, a similar bill against the Glynn County police was introduced but never advanced. However, after the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old unarmed Black man who was shot in February while jogging in Glynn County, the bill was reintroduced.
A separate measure that would make the referendum binding passed the House on Friday by a vote of 152-3 and is pending before the Senate. Now it’s up to Republican governor Brian Kemp who will either allow the bill to advance to the ballots or veto it. The bill would also affect police departments’ funding in other counties, including Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Fulton.
The bill comes as ramifications in the recent deaths of two unarmed black men. Arbery was shot and killed on Feb. 23 by two white men in Glynn County while jogging a residential neighborhood. Arbery’s killers were arrested and charged more than two months after the crime. On June 12, Atlanta police shot and killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) is investigating both cases.
Last week, several Atlanta police officers called in sick in protest after the officer involved in the fatal shooting of Brooks was charged with murder, among other charges.
Officials did not say how many officers were out on Wednesday, but the police department did say it was a “larger-than-normal number.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.