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Michigan, New York Dems Offer Bills to Stop Racially Motivated 911 Calls

Sen. Jesse Hamilton works in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in new york

Two state legislatures, Michigan and New York, are faced with proposals to put people in jail for calling the cops on African-Americans who are just “living while black,” as supporters of the bills put it.

In one of those cases, Madison, Wis., police were told to watch out for a “fully occupied silver sedan” that a 911 caller believed was “waiting for drugs at the local drug house.”

Turned out 71-year-old Linda Hoskins was driving the four-door sedan. Her 8-year-old granddaughter was in the back seat and her daughter, Sheila Stubbs, the supervisor of Dane County, Wis., was talking to a neighborhood resident on his front porch. All three women are black. Stubbs is convinced that’s why police were called.

“It's 2018," Stubbs said to Capitol Times. "It shouldn't be strange that a black woman's knocking on your door. I didn't do anything to make myself stand out. I felt like they thought I didn't belong there.”

Jemele Hill, a former senior correspondent for ESPN, called white people calling 911 on black people “WFW,” or “White Fear Weaponized,” in an op-ed published by The Undefeated.

Hill said the first week after she moved into a new home, a police officer approached her as she checked her mailbox at the curb and said, ‘Who are you?”

“For people of color, those kind of encounters are sadly expected. But because of some high-profile incidents in the past few weeks, it seems like everyone else is beginning to gain some understanding of how traumatic and draining it is for black people to live in a society where they are constantly reminded they don’t belong or are barely tolerated, especially in those spaces that have been traditionally reserved for or mostly occupied by white people,” Hill wrote.

New York Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D) and Michigan Rep. LaTanya Garrett (D) have proposed new laws to make it a felony to falsely report a crime based on race.

“Throughout the country, there has been an influx of calls where black brothers just being black just seems to be a problem,” Garrett, whose district covers part of Highland Park and Detroit, said. “What safety measures are in place to protect black people who are just living everyday life and having law enforcement called on them for no apparent reason?”

Hamilton introduced his legislation because a white female Trump supporter called the cops on him while he was campaigning in his district. The Brooklyn Eagle reported the police who responded “patiently explained to the white woman that Hamilton had done nothing wrong.” But Hamilton felt she was definitely in the wrong.

“Living while black is not a crime. But making a false report, especially motivated by hate, should be. Our laws should recognize that false reports with hateful intent can have deadly consequences,” said Hamilton, who is black.