Living While Black? Not A Crime. This Senator Wants To Make It A Crime To Call 911 On Innocent Black People

Living While Black? Not A Crime. This Senator Wants To Make It A Crime To Call 911 On Innocent Black People


Call it “turning back time” — a troubling growing trend of harassment simply for living while Black in our culture.

The police are being called for any number of innocent, daily routines that seem to now denote criminal action when a person of color is the subject.

From the recent incident at Starbucks in Philadelphia to noted actor Ving Rhames’ encounter, to the deplorable event at Yale,  now the issue has spread to include a New York City policymaker. His response is a powerful one.

Sen. Jesse Hamilton (NY-D) recently announced his proposed 911 Anti-Discrimination legislation which aims to combat the misuse of 911 calls for what many are calling “living-while-black” incidents.

The proposal is in direct response to Hamilton’s own encounter with a Caucasian woman while he was campaigning in Brooklyn, New York, at the Prospect Park B/Q/S subway station entrance.

A Brooklyn woman decided to call the police on the New York state senator because he said he was against President Donald Trump‘s immigration policy, and included a comment about fighting back against Trump on his campaign materials as he spoke to potential voters, according to DailyDot.com.

Living while black
Sen. Jesse Hamilton, D-Brooklyn, during a Senate hearing on Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

The woman said that Jackson should not be in that location making such statements, so she called the police.

The Senator has had a career helping people, with more than 15 years as an elected official in Crown Heights. He served eight years as school board president and eight as district leader of the 43rd Assembly District. As a public servant, he is focused on one of the most diverse Senate districts in New York State.

Hamilton, who is a proponent of many verticals including the tech industry, told the New York Post he and his team were campaigning in a Crown Heights neighborhood. The woman said that they were “dividing people.”

”The woman left, but the around 8 a.m., she called the police to complain that ‘Hamilton was against Trump’s immigration policy,’ according to the Post‘s law enforcement sources. When the cops arrived, they explained to her that Hamilton didn’t break any laws.”

Hamilton posted this on his Facebook page: “The pattern of targeting Black men and women for being Black and alive in the communities we all share has to stop. This pattern of calling the police on Black people going about their business and participating in the life of our country has to stop.”

As a result, Sen. Hamilton is now proposing that the 911 Anti-Discrimination Bill further differentiates among false reports, adding penalties based on the intent of the false reporting. The list of charges eligible for hate crimes sentencing enhancements would include first-, second-, and third-degree false reporting, increasing the penalties by one class for all three.

In this instance, the motivation for false reporting is a perception or belief about an individual’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation. Sen. Hamilton believes this change in the proposed bill — adding false reporting to the list of crimes covered by hate crimes law and sentencing enhancements — sends an important message about the seriousness of these potentially dangerous situations.

“These 911 calls are acts of intimidation,” the senator said:

“Living while black is not a crime, but making a false report – especially motivated by hate – should be. That is why I am introducing legislation today to add to the false reporting statutes to the list of hate crimes in New York State law. Our laws should recognize that false reports with hateful intent can have deadly consequences,” Sen. Hamilton said.