Grand Rapids, Michigan is considering making it illegal to call the police if it is done with racist intent.
The Grand Rapids city commission is considering whether to add a new ordinance that would make it illegal to call police on “people of color” for merely “participating in their lives,” making it a criminal misdemeanor to call the police against African Americans if it is done by mistake.
Local media reports that the “bias crime reporting prohibition” will criminalize contacting police to report possible crimes committed by African Americans if it is found there is no crime occurring.
Authorities claim it is not to prevent people from contacting police, but merely to encourage citizens to “check their bias” before contacting emergency services.
“Call the police, but if you’re calling because your neighbors are having a barbecue and you’re calling because of some implicit bias because they’re people of color, we don’t want to see that,” said Diversity and Inclusion Manager Patti Caudill.
They say the ordinance may be necessary because police have been called to three different scenes only to learn no crimes were being committed, and they believe the calls to police were made in “discriminatory” fashions to prevent citizens from enjoying their civil rights.
According to MLive, “The proposed ordinance puts a prohibition on any person denying another individual the enjoyment of civil rights, or for any person to discriminate against an individual in the exercise of civil rights because of actual or perceived color, race, religion or creed, sex, gender, identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genotype, age, marital status, medical condition, disability, height, weight, or source of lawful income.”
Local authorities have not commented on how such an ordinance could be enforced, considering when citizens call 911 they likely believe there is an imminent threat. This could result in concerned citizens being considered criminals for merely misjudging a situation.
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