As part of the growing movement to combat systemic racism in law enforcement—and to stop white people from weaponizing it—Los Angeles Councilmember Curren Price introduced legislation Wednesday that would make it illegal to make false or frivolous 911 calls based in racial bias.
Price has asked L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer to report back to the council in a month with suggestions for how to make placing racist 911 calls a crime, writing in a statement, “Not only are false racially biased 911 reports morally wrong but they are a drain to our City resources that can result in the false arrest of a victim or even worse, have life-threatening consequences.”
Price cited the case of Amy Cooper, who warned Black birdwatcher Christian Cooper (no relation) that she would call the police “and tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life” when he asked her to leash her dog in Central Park last month.
“It’s time we have legislation that prevents other Amy Coopers who weaponize 911 emergency calls and terrorize citizens from communities of color,” Price said.
Tomorrow I will be introducing legislation that would deter individuals from making unwarranted claims that wreak havoc in the lives of innocent people in our City. Stay tuned! #RethinkPublicSafety pic.twitter.com/bgi0nvL5Er
— Curren D. Price, Jr. (@CurrenDPriceJr) June 17, 2020
According to the motion, people who make racist emergency calls often face no penalty because a police report is rarely filed by their victims. “Without a police report, there is also little recourse for the victim of this type of racially based 911 call to take action of their own,” the legislation reads.
On Tuesday, meanwhile, L.A. councilmembers Herb Wesson and Nury Martinez introduced a motion to replace LAPD officers with “unarmed, non-law enforcement agencies who will be responsible for responding to non-violent calls for service.”