Should it be a hate crime for white people to call the police on innocent people of color? | The Tylt

Should it be a hate crime for white people to call the police on innocent people of color?

Legislators across the country are introducing bills to make it a crime for white people to call the police on innocent people of color. New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton, who recently had a white woman call the police on him while he was out campaigning on a public street, is one such legislator. "That's gonna be a hate crime," Hamilton said of the incident. While many citizens feel criminalizing these types of calls will solve the problem, some worry it will further involve the police in potentially volatile situations. What do you think?

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Should it be a hate crime for white people to call the police on innocent people of color?
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One of the more egregious examples of this trend was recently in St. Louis, when a woman named Hillary Brooke Mueller followed D'Arreion Toles from the lobby of his apartment, into the elevator and to his front door. She then accused him of not living in the building and insisting on seeing some kind of identification.

After Toles shut the door on Mueller, she called the police, who arrived 30 minutes later to question Toles inside his own home. Toles recorded the entire interaction with Mueller. Per The New York Times

In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Toles said he pulled out his phone to record the encounter “because I didn’t feel safe in the situation.”
He added: “At the end of the day, why would she call the police on me? I just walked in and went to my house.”
He said he was concerned that the situation would end up similar to what happened in Dallas last month when a black man was killed in his apartment after a white off-duty police officer entered, claiming she thought it was her unit.
“It’s kind of hitting me again, thinking about the whole thing,” he said of his encounter. “It’s pretty sad.”
He said it made him feel “like you can’t be who you are in America.”
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In Michigan, State Representative LaTanya Garrett introduced legislation to designate similar calls as hate crimes. Garrett said she was pursuing such legislation in hopes of protecting all citizens of color. Per The Grio:

State Rep. LaTanya Garrett is fed up with the unnecessary police calls on people of color that has polarized the country. So she introduced a bill in the Michigan Legislature on Wednesday, that would turn those racist calls into a crime, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“Throughout the country, there has been an influx of calls where black brothers just being black just seems to be a problem,” Garrett said. “Being a black woman having a black husband for 10 years and having three black children, I’m always worried about their safety.
“So I put myself in their shoes and asked: 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?”
Detroit has been trying to tame the waters by requiring officer to assess the situation before making an arrest.
“If it’s something that doesn’t rise to the level of a criminal matter, that becomes more of a civil issue,” said Police Chief James Craig. “We’re not going to be agents for discriminatory treatment.
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Writer Monique Judge argued in an essay for The Root that white people make so many of these types of calls because they feel protected by the system, from the current laws to the police. 

Why do white people feel so entitled to police black people? Is it because the police enable their bullshit?
Once again, a white person accosted a black person minding their own black-ass business, questioned and otherwise harassed them, then called the police to add further insult to their already aggravating injury.
And as per usual, the police responded to this “cry for help” from the poor white damsel in distress because they just had to be sure that this man—who obviously is in an apartment it’s OK for him to be in—belongs there.
An officer showed up at his door to question him even though he was accused of no crime. Remember what happened the last time a police officer showed up at the apartment of a black man who was minding his own business?
We keep seeing incidents like what happened to Toles on an almost daily basis. It is likely there are many more we don’t see because they aren’t caught on camera. They keep coming up because there is nothing to deter white people from harassing black people and then calling the police to back them up when they don’t get their way.
Why is that OK?
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After Senator Jesse Harrison announced his new planned legislation, some of his constituents voiced concerns about the possible law. Prospect Heights Patch reports: 

The onus to report questionable 911 calls would lie on the victim and police would be responsible for investigating whether those calls were justified, according to Hamilton.
But Milan Powell, a Brooklyn resident who stopped to hear Hamilton speak outside the Prospect Park train station Wednesday, had serious concerns about relying on the NYPD to investigate.
"We're putting responsibility in the hands of an institution that's really predatory," said Powell, 30. "I wouldn't feel comfortable with that."
Powell also expressed concerns about the practicalities of tracking down and investigating contentious calls, a task that has proved difficult in the past.

It is already illegal to make a false call to the police, the new legislation would merely place more burden on victims to advocate for their rights within a legal system they feel is biased against them. 

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Many people of color are already wary of calling the police and may be hesitant to involve them further in potentially volatile situations. Writer Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote about an experience over the Fourth of July in 2014 where she and several other people of color witnessed someone shooting a gun on a boardwalk in Long Island. 

Between the four adults, we hold six degrees. Three of us are journalists. And not one of us had thought to call the police. We had not even considered it.
We also are all black. And without realizing it, in that moment, each of us had made a set of calculations, an instantaneous weighing of the pros and cons.
...This was before Michael Brown. Before police killed John Crawford III for carrying a BB gun in a Wal-Mart or shot down 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a Cleveland park. Before Akai Gurley was killed by an officer while walking in a dark staircase and before Eric Garner was choked to death upon suspicion of selling “loosies.” Without yet knowing those names, we all could go down a list of unarmed black people killed by law enforcement.
We feared what could happen if police came rushing into a group of people who, by virtue of our skin color, might be mistaken for suspects.

It seems ridiculous to ask people who already have concerns about the police to go to them to report further wrongdoing.

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Writer Brando Simeo Starkey writes about another possible solution for The Undefeated

Others might believe that “police callers” in these situations should face legal sanction. I’m wary of this idea. For one, I seriously doubt the law would be changed to punish white people for this iteration of racial abuse. In the unlikely event that some jurisdictions might prosecute these matters under existing law, wrongdoers would likely never face consequences. America can’t punish police officers for killing unarmed black people on camera. The idea that a white woman claiming to have been frightened by the presence of black people will suffer punishment for calling the cops seems laughable.
This situation, rather, calls for average Americans, especially white Americans, to heap scorn on transgressors with the message that this behavior is to never be repeated. We should want to empower our fellow Americans to address this problem through the communal tools of shame and stigma. I don’t think we can stop this from ever happening. But before people dial 911, if they worry that they might be the ones who suffer in the end, some will just hang up instead.
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should it be a hate crime for white people to call the police on innocent people of color?
#ReportHateCrimes
A festive crown for the winner
#DontInvolveCops