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New York politician wants to make racist 911 calls a hate crime

New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton wants to make racially biased 911 calls illegal. Source: Getty Images

State senator Jesse Hamilton has called for action to stop the emergency number being used as a means "to intimidate people of colour".

The majority of people in the United States dial 911 for an emergency - but a recent spate of calls on African Americans has sparked accusations of racial profiling.

Now one New York state senator has introduced a bill to make racially biased reports a crime. 

Senator Jesse Hamilton said he was prompted to take action after a woman called 911 while he was campaigning in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, because she didn't agree with his criticism of US President Donald Trump, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Calling 911 under false pretenses would be classified as a hate crime in New York State under his bill.

In a post on Twitter, Senator Hamilton said the legislation aims to "combat the misuse of 911 and the many #LivingWhileBlack incidents that have occurred".

"The pattern of using 911 to intimidate people of colour is a national problem and we must take action," he said.

In another post, he added: "Non Emergency calls to police have led to deadly consequences. A national bill will save lives. We mus [sic] take action."

In recent months there have been numerous cases of white Americans calling police on African Americans, which have been met with intense criticism. 

In one case, residents in Maple Heights, outside Cleveland, dialed 911 to report a 12-year-old boy who was mowing grass.

Three black women in Rialto, California, were also swarmed by officers outside an Airbnb rental after someone called police, believing they were robbers.

In April, Starbucks Chief Executive Kevin Johnson was forced to apologised for the arrests of two black men at a Philadelphia coffee shop.

Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and former head of the Civil Rights Bureau for the New York Attorney General's Office, welcomed the proposed bill, telling CNN that it could inspire other states to take similar measures if it passes.

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