A new law hopes to criminalize #LivingWhileBlack calls


Jazmin Sanchez, Staff Reporter

On August 26, 2018 three young boys from ages eleven to seventeen were handcuffed and checked for weapons while on their way to get pizza due to a phone call from a resident.

On October 9, 2018 police handcuffed a twelve-year-old girl to determine if she or her 10-year-old brother had weapons due to a phone call from the neighbor.

On December 6, 2017 police handcuffed and held an 11-year-old girl along with her mother at gunpoint while searching them for weapons due to a phone call.

On August 7, 2018, Shelia Stubbs got the police called on her because they thought she was a drug dealer when she was actually campaigning door to door for a seat in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

In June 2017, the police were called to Mulik Park due a disturbance which turned out to be a graduation party.

Every day that passes more and more #LivingWhileBlack incidents happen and are getting worse, not just adults but now children too.

The officers of Grand Rapids, Michigan have had enough of being called for biased reasoning when no crime is actually being commited.

¨Bias Crime Reporting Prohibition¨ is the name of the new ordinance that the city commission proposed.

On May 14, 2019 Grand Rapids, Michigan might be able to make it illegal to call 911 on people of color participating in daily activities.Violations could be punishable with a fine up to five hundred dollars per day that it occurs.

Under the ordinance, a person can be found guilty if they report someone to the police partially or fully because of that person’s race or membership to another legally protected class rather than basing their reporting on “reasonable suspicion of criminal activity in consideration of all available facts and the totality of the circumstances.”

Elena Gormley, a resident of Grand Rapids Michigan, has said, ¨Consequences are necessary to prevent people from treating police like J.C.Penny customer service… without them they would continue to call on people who are not doing anything, except existing.¨

Grand Rapids, Michigan needs more actions like the one of Officer Lynema, who picked up a boy, 9-year-old Thomas Daniel, chasing the bus because he missed it. In the car ride, Officer Lynema found out it was Thomas’ birthday and he got an invitation to his party that same evening.

Thomas told Officer Lynema that he was worried that no one was going to show up to his birthday party since he gets bullied at school. Later that evening, Officer Lynema came and saw that in fact no one showed up but his siblings, he also noticed there was no cake for Thomas.

The next day, Officer Lynema surprised Thomas with another party and showed up with ¨back up¨. The other officers brought presents and a Krispy Kreme cake for Thomas and even sang for him.

Although local authorities have not said how the ordinance will be enforced, it does not discourage them from pushing it through.

Grand Rapids officials are the first to put an end to the biased calls on people of color. The ordinance is not put in place to discourage citizens from calling 911 but to check their bias before calling. People of color will be able to live their daily lives without worrying about the presence of the police for just looking at the wrong person.