Last week, New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton announced his proposal for 911 Anti-Discrimination legislation. The law would combat the many recent instances of false emergency reports made against citizens for essentially “living while Black.”
These reports include an April incident in which a woman, since dubbed “Barbecue Becky” called Oakland, CA police on group of Black men picnicking in a public park, an incident in May in which campus police at Yale University were called on a Black graduate student who was napping in a common room, and a June incident in which a women called the police to report that a Black 8-year-old girl was selling water without a permit.
On August 9, Sen. Hamilton himself had a similar experience while speaking with constituents in Brooklyn. According to a press release from the Senator’s office, a woman “… accused Senator Hamilton of supporting immigrants excessively. She objected to the senator speaking to constituents and called 911. Officers from the 71st Precinct arrived and determined that public assembly and free speech are not against the law.”
If passed, the law would add false reporting statutes to the list of hate crimes in New York State law.
In a press conference held to announce the bill, Hamilton stated, “These 911 calls are more than frivolous. These 911 calls amount to more than just a waste of police time and resources. These 911 calls are acts of intimidation. Living while Black is not a crime, but making a false report – especially motivated by hate – should be.”