New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing state lawmakers to pass a bill making it a hate crime to call 91 and make a false accusation based on race, gender, or religion.
The New York Post reports a bill introduced two years ago by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) has been gaining traction. The incident in Central Park between a white woman named Amy Cooper and black, male bird watcher is a leading reason.
Cuomo said during a press briefing Friday that the bill is part of a multi-pronged push to change police tactics in New York.
“We’ve seen 911 calls which are race-based, false calls. A false 911 call based on race should be classified as a hate crime in the state of New York,” Cuomo said.
Under Ortiz’s bill, violators could face between 1 and 5 years in prison, which is in accordance to the state’s hate crime statute “if the motivation for reporting such crime is motivated by a perception or belief about their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.”
“The bottom line is: We should be using better judgment. Racism gets created, and I think that by making false reporting because of gender or religion is completely unacceptable and intolerable,” Ortiz told the Post.
Other suggested police reforms include the banning of chokeholds and other police measures used to violently subdue suspects. Naming the attorney general independent prosecutor for cases to investigate the killings of unarmed civilians by officers and eliminating the 50-a of the civil rights law allowing for transparency on prior disciplinary records of law enforcement officers.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has defended the police and their actions for most of the week, has also promised to cut the NYPD’s $6 billion budget and reinvest funds into community programs, although he declined to say how much he’d cut or when he would make the move.
The reforms come after almost two weeks of protesting across the country after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Protesters have been demanding significant police reforms at the least and the total disbandment of police departments in some cases.