Three House Republicans rejected hate crime legislation named after murdered black teenager Emmett Till in a vote Monday night.
HR 55, called the Emmett Till Anti-Lynch Act, was passed by a majority of 422 votes in favor in the lower house of Congress.
The bill aims to make lynching a federal hate crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Massi posted a statement on Twitter explaining that he had voted against the bill for fears that it would impede state rights and “freedom of speech.”
“The constitution specifies only a handful of federal crimes, leaving the rest to individual states to prosecute,” Massi wrote Monday night. “This bill extends existing federal hate crime laws. Crime is a crime and all victims deserve equal justice. The addition of increased penalties for “hate” tends to threaten other freedoms such as freedom of speech. “
The Kentucky legislator added: “Lynching is now illegal in every state. The adoption of this legislation wrongly implies that lynching someone is no longer a criminal activity.
Massi explained in a long topic on Twitter that he believes the legislation will impede state rights and the First Amendment
“The bill creates another federal conspiracy crime, which I fear could be imposed too widely on people who are not perpetrators.”
Roy issued a statement calling the lynching “an indescribably heinous crime,” but said HR 55 had “nothing to do with it.”
“In fact, this does not create new federal crimes. It simply increases the punishment for things that are already federal crimes, including those not related to lynching – such as gender identity – in an attempt to promote an awakened agenda under the guise of correcting racial injustice, “Roy said.
The Texas Republican hinted that lawmakers and the media are not “honest” in presenting the law.
“Congress and the media need to be honest with the American people about what bills do and don’t do,” he said.
It is named after Emmett Till, who was just 14 when he was brutally murdered by two white men who were acquitted by an all-white jury.
“As much as I support tougher penalties for abusers, this is a matter for the states and I will not vote for legislative fraud. Nor will I support the strengthening of the federal government, which so often abuses it.
Georgia Clyde’s spokesman told DailyMail.com that the bill “wrongly assumes” that lynchings are no longer punishable.
“Lynching is an evil act of violence that is already against the law at the federal level; this is first-degree murder. In addition, my home state of Georgia recently signed hate crime legislation last year, “he said.
“HR 55 will not create a new federal crime, and the current hate crime penal code already establishes penalties for intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. Simply put, we do not need another duplicate federal law. Cutting out a separate distinction for lynching may be symbolic, but it is wrong to assume that those who perform or attempt to perform lynching are no longer facing criminal charges and consequences. Regardless of the method or tool used in a horrific act of violence, all victims of crime deserve equal justice.
The Emmett Till bill was introduced in early January by longtime Illinois Democrat Bobby Rush.
Rush, who is retiring later this year, is a civil rights activist, pastor and veteran of the military who helped create the Black Panthers. He did so with his late friend and chairman of the Illinois Black Panthers, Fred Hampton, who was killed by federal law enforcement in a pre-dawn attack while he slept in his bed.
The law was passed by an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives on Monday night
“By passing my anti-lynching law to Emmett Till, the House has sent a resounding message that our nation is finally coming to terms with one of the darkest and most horrific periods in our history and that we are morally and legally committed to changing course.” said Rush. in a statement after the adoption of the bill.
“I was eight years old when my mother placed the picture of Emmett Till’s brutal body, which was published in Jet magazine, on our coffee table in the living room, pointed it out, and said, ‘That’s why I took my boys out of Albany, Georgia. “This picture shaped my consciousness as a black man in America, changed the course of my life and changed our nation.
Emmett Till was just 14 when he was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of flirting with a white woman.
An all-white jury acquitted two men who later admitted to killing the teenager in an interview with a magazine. They beat and mutilated Till before shooting him in the head and dumping his body in the Talahachi River.
After the bill was passed Monday night, Rush called on the three Republicans who voted against.
Representative Bobby Rush, the Illinois Democrat who introduced the bill, targeted three votes against Monday night
‘What were the 3 votes against #AntilynchingAct tonight?’ Rush wrote on Twitter.
Andrew Clyde, Georgia: Called Uprising 1/6 “Normal Tourist Visit”
“Thomas Massey, KY: He wrote a bill to allow weapons in school areas
Chip Roy, Texas: Called lynching an “example of justice”
He concluded: “All Republicans. Surprised?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi celebrated the passage of the law as she mourned Till’s “brutal murder” decades ago.
“Unfortunately, hate attacks are still not a relic of the past: from the scourge of police violence to attacks on temples. That is why the Democratic Congress is working hard, empowering our legal system with more tools to bring perpetrators to justice, “Pelosi said in a statement.
“Every act of fanatical violence is an attack on the most basic promise of American democracy: ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ Democrats in the House of Representatives will not rest until we guarantee these inalienable rights for every American. We now call on the Senate to take immediate action and send this bill to the President’s Office. “