GEORGE COUNTY, Miss. -- The group "Mississippi Citizens for Austin’s Law" is circulating a petition statewide that they want you to sign. It asks lawmakers to amend Mississippi’s hate crime law to include people with disabilities.
“We’re one of only 20 state’s that does not protect the disabled,” said group spokeswoman Le Ann Rasmussen. She said that is likely an oversight. “3,378,000 plus people with disabilities were attacked in 2011. And we just cannot tolerate numbers that high.”
Austin’s Law is named for Austin Stokes, the disabled George County teen punched in the face by another student last year. “We need people to understand that if you going to attack somebody with a disability, just because they have a disability, you’re going to pay the price,” she said. “And that’s what the Hate Crime Statute provides for, a sentence enhancement for hate crimes.”
Rasmussen says they still need a lawmaker to sponsor Austin’s Law. You can sign the petition or get more information on their facebook page.