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Senator's bill will make racist 911 calls a hate crime

HATE CRIME: Senator Jesse Hamilton, pictured, wants a specific law to respond to racially motivated 911 calls (Image: Jesse Hamilton/Facebook)

A UNITED States senator is aiming to introduce new legislation to penalise people who falsely report crimes against others because of the colour of their skin.

Jesse Hamilton, a Brooklyn state senator, has proposed legislation that will punish people who call 911 on people on the grounds of their race alone.

Hamilton said: “Living while black is not a crime, but making a false report – especially motivated by hate – should be.”

In recent months a number of incidents where white people have called the police on black Americans simply going about their daily lives have made the headlines.

The situations, which include a woman who called the police on a child selling water and another when a woman complained to the police about a black family’s barbecue, sparked a series of “Permit Patty” and “BBQ Becky” memes, and an online and offline backlash.

Hamilton’s initiative to tackle such occurrences has been coined the 911 anti-discrimination legislation. And the new law has already garnered support.

One Twitter user, Maureen Oakes, said: “This law would definitely be a deterrent for people who call the police on black people for no good reason. It is a traumatic experience which could end up being a fatal one.”

Another responded to the news with the comment: “Yes! You’re weaponising the police force on individuals minding their business! Wasting their time and taxpayers money cause [sic] you’re afraid of black people! Better yet add a huge fine to it to sweeten the deal...reparations!”

Last week Hamilton said that a woman called the police on him while he was campaigning against President Trump.

Hamilton was handing out anti-Trump cards that featured the words “Fighting back Trump” when a woman approached him and later called the police on him.

Hamilton published a video of the woman on Facebook alongside a caption that said: “A Trump supporter called the police on us today, for the crime of speaking to constituents about immigration and Trump's racist policies.”

He added: “The pattern of targeting black men and women for being black and alive in the communities we all share has to stop. This pattern of calling the police on black people going about their business and participating in the life of our country has to stop.

"From a student taking a break at Yale, to a student eating lunch at Smith College, to a child selling lemonade, to a person having a barbecue in Oakland, to an Oregon state legislator knocking on doors – the list goes on and on. I will continue to speak to neighbourhood residents about the important work we must accomplish together – including changing a culture of targeting black men and women for living while black.”

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