Black lawmakers in Oregon’s legislature have joined forces to successfully crack down on racially motivated 911 calls that have caught national attention in recent month.
The new measure is a response to incidents in which white people call the police on Black people who are simply living their lives. These incidents include the police being called on two Black Starbucks patrons in Pennsylvania, a group of Black women staying at an Airbnb in California, and a Black Yale student taking a nap in her dorm’s common room.
Now, victims of those 911 calls in Oregon can sue the caller for up to $250.
“When someone gets the police called on them for just existing in public, it sends a message that you don’t belong here,” said sponsoring Rep. Janelle Bynum. According to NBC News, she proposed the legislation after a woman called the cops on her while she was canvassing a neighborhood for her re-election last year.
“This creates a legal pathway to justice for those of us who have to worry about getting the cops called on us for existing in public,” she said.