Following a viral Central Park incident, Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing for a new law that would make it a hate crime, punishable by up to five years of prison time, to phone in a 911 call “based on race” that turns out to be “false” or unnecessary.
“We’ve seen 911 calls which are race-based, false calls. A false 911 call based on race should be classified as a hate crime in the state of New York,” Cuomo said at press briefing on Friday, according to The New York Post.
The legislation, first introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Felix Ortiz of Brooklyn, would also include “false” 911 calls based on gender and religion.
“[V]iolators could face between one and five years in prison, in accordance with the state’s hate crime statute ‘if the motivation for reporting such crime is motivated by a perception or belief about their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation,’” Assemblyman Ortiz told the Post.
“The bottom line is: We should be using better judgment,” he added. “Racism gets created, and I think that by making false reporting because of gender or religion is completely unacceptable and intolerable.”
The bill received a new push from Cuomo this month in light of a racially charged Central Park incident caught on viral video.
The Daily Wire reported on the video and its consequences: “A viral ‘Karen’ video of a white woman calling the police after an African-American man asked her to leash her dog in Central Park Monday morning has resulted in the woman being placed on administrative leave, a public apology, and more details emerging about what led up to the racially charged phone call, including what the woman interpreted as a threat, and its fallout.”
“The viral video was taken by Christian Cooper, the African-American bird-watching enthusiast who asked the woman, Amy Cooper (no relation), to leash her dog according to park rules,” the report continued. “In the video, Amy, who grows increasingly more panicked over the course of its filming, first warns Christian that she is going to call the police to tell them that ‘there’s an African-American man threatening my life.’ She then calls the police and says, ‘There is an African-American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog.’”
After the viral moment, Amy was canned from her job and subsequently told NBC New York that she called authorities because she feared Christian was going to try to poison her dog.
Christian’s Facebook post on the incident provides a transcript of their conversation, which offers more context for why Amy believed he was threatening her. “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it,” Christian said, before calling for her dog to come to him and pulling a dog treat out of his pocket.
The bill is expected to be passed by the State Senate this week.