In the recent months, black people have been the targets of unjustified 911 calls for selling water, standing inside a Starbucks, sleeping in a dorm, or finding shelter from the rain. These stories and countless others that have gone viral served as the catalyst for one legislator’s new proposal.
According to Raw Story, New York State Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D) wants to make it a hate crime to call 911 on innocent black people. He also said that a Donald Trump supporter once called the cops on him when he was campaigning. “Waiting for your friends at a Starbucks is not a 911 call – it’s a call of intimidation,” Hamilton said. “That’s gonna be a hate crime. This pattern of calling the police on black people going about their business and participating in the life of our country has to stop.”
Raw Story notes that if the bill were to pass, the decision to determine whether or not the 911 call was made with a racial bias will be left in the hands of law enforcement. As noted by Patch, one Brooklyn resident who attended Hamilton’s press conference said she’s concerned about leaving this decision up to the NYPD.
“We’re putting responsibility in the hands of an institution that’s really predatory,” Milan Powell said. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that.”