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Grand Rapids Could Become First City To Punish Racist People Using 911 Against Black People

By Clarkisha Kent · April 23, 2019

Anyone who is anyone knows that there is a grave epidemic known as “Breathing While Black”. And that doing so in public is usually followed by some racist white person calling the police on you while you’re trying to live your life. After all, it’s why we have so many Permit Patties and Barbecue Betties that keep going viral over this same issue.

Well, there may finally be a U.S. city that is sick of the nonsense.

Grand Rapids, Michigan may be the first city to make it illegal to call the police on a Black person for “breathing while Black”…or doing anything mundane while Black to be honest.

How would this work? To elaborate, Grand Rapids is in the process of planning an ordinance that would classify the abuse of 911 as a criminal misdemeanor. This means that people would actually get in trouble for calling the police on Black people just trying to live their normal, daily lives. This would be accomplished through the hypothetical “bias crime reporting prohibition” and would also build upon established protected class definitions, outline a referral and compliance process, and identify four main potential areas of discrimination that such calls—and abuse of a public service—could fall under.

“We in the community have had various conversations over the last few years about disparities that exist in Grand Rapids,” Jeremy DeRoo, executive director of advocacy group LINC Up, said.

This comes after the community has seen a spike in Grand Rapids police offers being dispatched in situations that have clearly been influenced by discrimination or implicit bias (i.e racism). This became particularly clear after a nasty incident in 2017 where someone called the police on a Black graduation party.

The proposed ordinance would be broken up into sections (focusing on things like public gatherings, employment practices, etc), would be punishable by up to $500 per day that such an incident occurs, and would be prosecuted by the city attorney’s office.

City leaders in Grand Rapids will be voting on the proposal in May, but before that takes place, they are holding a public comment period on Tuesday, April 23 at 7 pm in City Hall. The meeting will be broadcast on the city’s YouTube and Facebook pages. If you are Grand Rapids resident looking to comment, you can do so by emailing crc@grcity.us.