Washington Post: There should be s penalty for White people who call 911 on Black people doing nothing wrong
Carol Ozemhoya| OW Contributor | 5/17/2018, 10:04 a.m.
The Trump era has brought a drastic increase in the number of white people calling the police unnecessarily on people of color in places of business and in public. The good news is that this recent rash of racist incidents is bring to light the deep-rooted racism in the U.S. and causing an awareness for the need of a national conversation on racism. It’s also causing retailers, such as Starbucks, L.A. Fitness, Cheesecake Factory and more to re-evaluate how their employees treat customers of all races. The bad news is that when police are called to the scene when a white person is simply uncomfortable with the presence of people of color, their resources are taxed and it also creates a potentially dangerous situation, and there is no apparent penalty placed on the person who made the call to get the police involved. Now the Washington Post, a highy-regarded newspaper, is suggesting that people who make these unnecessary calls and create cost should be punished with a fine or some other kind of penalty. Writes the Post: “But most of the time, there is no consequence for the people who weaponize their fear and use the police as an extension of their whiteness. There should be. If it wasn’t so easy to blithely call the authorities and report the mere presence of a Black person, there would be fewer incidents of dangerous police overreaction — and Black people wouldn’t have to bear quite so much of the burden of American racism on their own.” The piece goes on to say that there are actually laws on the books that could be used to prevent people from making these calls. “It is a crime to file a false police report. When places of public accommodation enlist the police to remove people based on race, the owners and managers should be investigated and prosecuted for filing false police reports. At the Philly Starbucks, the Yale dorm, the golf course or the Oakland park, the police investigation should have focused on the frivolous and possibly criminal abuses of the 911 emergency system rather than on the people who were doing nothing wrong when someone called about them.” In addition, civil laws are available for use by the people being called on, including suing the callers for defamation of character, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress.