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Governor Deal Signs Bill to Protect Peace Officers and Family from Intimidation and Retaliation. | Crime

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Governor Deal Signs Bill to Protect Peace Officers and Family from Intimidation and Retaliation.
Crime
Governor Deal Signs Bill to Protect Peace Officers and Family from Intimidation and Retaliation.

House Bill 541 was signed by Governor Nathan Deal making it an official law of the great state of Georgia this week.  The law amends the already existing law, 16-10-97, Intimidation or Injury of Grand or Petit Juror or Court Officer under the Georgia Criminal Code.  The amendment prohibits the intimidation of any law enforcement officers in retaliation for the officer's actions of carrying out his or her official duties.

The law reads as follows:  (C) A person who by threat or force or by any threatening action, letter, or communication endeavors to intimidate any law enforcement officer, outside the scope and course of his or her employment, or his or her immediate family member in retaliation or response to the discharge of such officer's official duties shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, a fine not to exceed $5,000.00, or both."

This bill stems from an incident from Father’s Day 2007 when an individual was found hiding on the property and around the residence of Major Jamie McDaniel, with the Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office.  The suspect had been issued a traffic citation the day before by McDaniel.  It was learned that the suspect had researched McDaniel and his family on the internet and had their personal information, satellite images of the McDaniel residence and directions to the residence.  Also the suspect was found to have in his possession a loaded Glock 9mm pistol.  The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to work the case and after the investigation was completed only misdemeanor charges could be brought against the suspect for coming to the residence of McDaniel.  That led to McDaniel conducting research to come up with a law that would hand down harsher penalties and would also protect the family members of law enforcement officers.  McDaniel found a retaliation law in the state of Tennessee and adopted many aspects of the law.  He forwarded all his information to Rep. Bubber Epps who sponsored and helped draft the bill that was signed into law. 

Statement from Major McDaniel:  “This is a great outcome to a two year endeavor of researching, traveling to the capital to drum up support for the bill, and testifying before both the House Judicial Committee and the Senate Judicial Committee so that the bill could continue to move forward.   Along the way the bill has taken on several modifications and changes, but I am very pleased with the outcome.  I would like to thank Rep. Bubber Epps, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and Governor Nathan Deal for making the bills passing and signing a reality.  This is great victory for all peace officers in the state of Georgia and I hope that this law will deter what happened to me and my family.  In my 20 years of law enforcement this was the first time I have ever felt threatened away from the job.  I have tolerated and endured a lot while in uniform over the years.  But when I come home I should not feel threatened or fear for the safety of my loved ones.  I can only hope that his law will bring about some closure and maybe prevent or deter future events from happening.”

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