His measure would “make it illegal for people to contact law enforcement solely to discriminate on the basis of a person’s race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.” It would also allow victims of these calls to sue for damages up to $1,000. A similar measure introduced in the California Assembly by Oakland Democrat Rob Banta would create both criminal and civil liability for people making false 911 calls based on bias against people in protected classes. Making false police reports is already punishable in California by as much as six months in jail, but “there are currently no consequences by law for people who make fraudulent emergency calls based on race,” Walton said. Similar measures are pending in New York and Oregon. The legislature in Washington State passed a similar law which took effect on June 11, 2020.
“Let it be known that this has always happened,” Walton says, talking about cases from Amy Cooper, who is facing a misdemeanor charge for calling 911 on Black birdwatcher Christopher Cooper, to all the “Karens” who’ve called cops on children selling water on street corners and families having picnics and Black kids swimming in public pools. “[W]ith smartphones and social media, we are seeing it recorded and subsequently broadcasted on the news,” he said. “But there are countless others that do not get news coverage or do not get reported.”
It’s long past time there be accountability, especially for the cops. There also have to be new policing systems in which armed cops don’t show up for every call and more appropriate responders are available for noncriminal calls. But there also has to be accountability for the people who make these false calls. The people who’ve made more murders by cops happen simply because they want to and can assert their privilege and act on their racist inclinations.