Georgia

Atlanta councilman proposes ban on ski masks, hoodies

ATLANTA — An Atlanta City councilman has proposed a ban on ski masks and hoods, saying the bill will hinder crime.

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Some civil rights activists believe the ban could lead to racial profiling.

Audrey Washington, with Action News Jax’s sister station WSB-TV, was at Atlanta City Hall, where Antonio Lewis said he got too many complaints about people committing crimes while wearing ski masks, so he wanted to do something about it.

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“(The ban would be for) people who have their hoodies on that cover up everything but their eyes,” Lewis said. “They have a hoodie on and a mask.”

Georgia already has laws prohibiting masks worn on public or private property without written consent, but Lewis said that legislation relaxed during COVID when people had to wear a mask.

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He said that too often, those committing crimes wear ski masks and hoodies, so he believes reinforcing the ban will help hinder unlawful behavior.

“We’re talking about people walking into buildings and snatching stuff out of malls,” Lewis said.

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Civil rights activist Devin Barrington-Ward is against the proposal. He believes the ban could lead to discrimination and racial profiling.

“This is not going to reduce crime in Atlanta,” Barrington-Ward said. “It’s going to put young people more at risk for danger, including unlawful incarceration and potentially deadly encounters with police.”

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Lewis disagrees.

“We ain’t trying to stop no young people,” Lewis said. “As a matter of fact, if you need a regular mask, hit me up. I’ll give you a mask to replace your ski mask with.”

Lewis said he does plan to amend the hoodie and fine portions of the proposal by Monday’s public safety committee hearing.

CLICK HERE to read the original article by WSB-TV.

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