New York State Senator Kevin Parker and Assemblywoman Diana Richardson held a press conference on Thursday to address the abuses of 911 calls for non-emergencies, renewing his call to pass legislation that could charge such misuse as a misdemeanor.
The press conference came on the heels of the “Cornerstone Caroline” incident in which a White woman falsely accused a nine-year-old Black boy of fondling her in a Flatbush bodega, and then frightened him and his family by pretending to call the police.
“As we have seen just up the street with the Red Apple Nails salon beating of a Black woman and her elderly mother, the young men that were arrested for simply sitting in Starbucks while Black and in Oakland with a White woman calling law enforcement on Black people for barbecuing, the lives and rights of Black and Brown people continue to be under attack,” said State Senator Kevin Parker. “This new cunning, yet brazen way of expressing hatred for people of color is unconscionable, and we must work together to stop this line of attack.”
In August, Parker introduced legislation to classify the misuse of 911 calls as a class B misdemeanor. If the bill were enacted into law, a person found guilty of reporting a non-emergency incident could face up to three months in jail and a $500 fine. Assemblywoman Diana Richardson introduced the bill in the state assembly.
“I know that with the support of my colleagues and the community, we will do what’s needed to rid our state of this new divisive tactic employed by those who seek to disregard the existence of Black and Brown people,” said Assemblywoman Richardson.
The two lawmakers called on Governor Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to immediately convene a special state legislature session to adopt the proposed law.
“My colleagues and I understand that this legislation is no solution to the systematic injustices and prejudices that fuel these calls,” said Parker. “However, we do believe that it is our duty to immediately mitigate this current state so that we can come together and have a larger discussion aimed at ensuring respect and tolerance for the differences between us, that ultimately should unite us.”