In the wake of the viral Amy Cooper video that shows her racially profiling an innocent Black birdwatcher in Central Park, New York lawmakers are now proposing new legislation that would classify the act of falsely reporting an incident to police as a hate crime.
“He is recording me and threatening me and my dog,” Cooper can be heard saying to a police dispatcher on the phone while the bird watcher calmly films her tirade. “I’m being threatened by an African-American man in the Ramble! Please send the cops immediately.”
Fortunately, no false arrests were made when police arrived to Central Park. But Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and Senator Brian Benjamin believe that given that these incidents are often based on glaring racial bias, it only makes sense to criminalize similar actions across the state.
“In the past year, we have seen many instances throughout both New York State and the country of people calling 911 on black people who are going about their everyday lives, only to be interrupted by someone calling the police for reasons that range from caution, to suspicious inkling to all out hated,” Ortiz wrote in his justification for the bill.
“It is frightening that this incident happened just blocks from where many of my constituents live and that this woman was so willing to fabricate a story despite being filmed,” agreed State Sen. Benjamin. “I worry that if she had not been filmed, this woman may have been given the benefit of the doubt, and that this man could have faced serious, perhaps life-threatening consequences if the police had arrived.”
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