Bill Punishing Racist 911 Callers Passes In Oregon Senate
Oregon isn’t the only state trying to legalize bills like this. Last year, a New York lawmaker proposed a bill that would make calling 911 on an innocent black person a hate crime.
The Oregon state Senate passed a bill on Monday that would allow victims of discriminatory 911 calls to sue the caller.
Titled House bill 3216, the bill “allows victims of these calls to sue a 911 caller for as much as $250 if the victim can prove that the 911 call was racially motivated and that the caller intended to discriminate or harm the reputation of the victim,” according to a report from Vox.
The bill was passed by the Oregon House in April and will return there to resolve a minor discrepancy. If the revised version is accepted it’ll then be sent to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.
The bill was introduced by Oregon’s three black Democratic legislators, including state Rep. Janelle Bynum. Bynum had her own experience with a discriminatory 911 call last year. She was questioned by police after someone called 911 on her while she was campaigning in her district. The incident went viral and sparked the hashtag #CampaigningWhileBlack.
“When someone gets the police called on them for just existing in public, it sends a message that you don’t belong here,” Bynum said to the Associated Press. “This creates a legal pathway to justice.”
Last year came reports that New York lawmaker Jesse Hamilton had proposed a bill that would make calling 911 on an innocent black person a hate crime.
The Democratic state senator said the bill was inspired by an incident where a woman called the cops on him while he was campaigning in his district.