Should Baseless 911 Calls Be Hate Crimes?

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
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35,548
Toronto
Complicated question...

On one side, this kind of crap, calling police on people for no reason, is terrible, and must be punished, especially if it is motivated by racial or other bigotry.

There's that whole "SWATing" thing too, which some teens now apparently do just for fun. Crazy...

Some people, too, are just plain paranoid, call 911 for any odd thing...

On the other side of the coin though, I recall how it is in Russia, where almost nobody would voluntarily call the police about anything. People don't like or trust law enforcement, likely as consequence of high incarceration rates and general history of brutality and repression against the populace by regime after regime. So, pretty much nobody wants to have to deal with the cops there, if they can at all help it.

Plus, too many have this attitude that, "Not my car/apartment/office [being broken into] - not my problem."

Just total apathy. I recall, couple years ago, on VKontakte, Russian Facebook, I saw a video, some young activists in Moscow did a social experiment.

Two actors were portraying a couple, arguing loudly, in the middle of a busy street. He starts swearing at her. Then, he is pulling her around by her hair, slapping her, hitting her. All the while, crowds of people move around them, not noticing, or pretending not to, averting their eyes. "Mind my own business." The mantra most modern Russians live by now. Even there were three police officers who came out of a nearby Metro station for a smoke, watching the whole thing, also doing absolutely nothing, before finishing their cigarettes, turning around, and walking back underground.

Took damn near an hour, before some guy FINALLY stepped in to save the "victim" from her "abusive boyfriend". Shocking, really.

There was a real life case too, forget which city, where a group of men abducted a young woman, locked her up in their apartment, and had their way with her sexually for hours. Once, she ran out onto the balcony, on the sixth floor, and screamed at people below to call the police, do something, anything to help her. Nobody did, all ignored her, even as a guy came out after her, grabbed her, and dragged her back inside, kicking and screaming.

Later, she against was able to flee to the balcony, and this time, jumped down from there, broke both her legs, and, finally, someone called for an ambulance to pick her up, that's how she was finally saved, and the gang of rapists - arrested.

That's the sort of horrific attitude I never want to see around here either...

I don't know. There must be a middle way of some kind. Education, as some already suggested in this thread, combined with strong penalties for abuse of the 911 system.
 
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Jun 2014
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Cleveland, Ohio
No. Very hard to prove. Not worth the taxpayer money it would cost to prosecute.

Note that I'm speaking of a hate crime enhancement. That doesn't mean I don't think there should be consequences. I think at minimum it should be a costly misdemeanor for the first offense, with the fines going specifically towards public education about when to call 911 and when it's better to call dispatch directly. It's going to be a long, uphill road to convince Americans to be less afraid of those blessed with more melanin than they, but the least we can do is involve fewer people and train dispatch how to tell when someone is reacting out of that fear. At least the cops may be more apprised of the true situation going in, and hopefully that will result in fewer wrongful deaths (and outright murders). One can hope, anyway, as one often does when they are stubbornly naive and life hasn't quite beaten all the punch out of them yet.
I am less concerned with mollycoddling white racists and more concerned with avoiding trauma, humiliation, or worse to law-abiding black Americans who cause fear merely by existing.

There have been deaths, including one here in Cleveland, as a result of this behavior.
 
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Dec 2006
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Sometimes they refuse to take them to the hospital.
That should never happen under any circumstances, IMO. Get them to the hospital where the medical support exists if they are indeed having a true problem, then worry about prosecuting them afterwards if applicable.
 
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HCProf

Council Hall
Sep 2014
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That should never happen under any circumstances, IMO. Get them to the hospital where the medical support exists if they are indeed having a true problem, then worry about prosecuting them afterwards if applicable.
I teach CPR with a couple of paramedics...sometimes they can provide treatment on the spot. One case, a little girl stuck her finger into a bottle or something and could not get it out. The paramedic removed it, checked it for injury and left. People really abuse 911 as far as health care. The ER's could not accommodate legitimate conditions and the bogus ones at the same time. Another example, if they respond to a drug overdose and Narcon revives them, they won't transport.
 
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Apr 2012
61,014
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Englewood,Ohio
Fancy 911 system you gots, sista.

What did you do to frighten the tv installer?

Lol.
He admitted it had happened to him before as he left. Apparently the number was close to what he used to check the phone or TV.:)

We just have a small town Police Force that knews me. My Husband used to be a Volunteer Paramedic. There are still a few around who knew him.

I did call 911 once. Turned out I exercised too much,my carpel tunnel nerve froze my hand. The Police Chief checked my house 3 times, according to my neighbors, found my credt card holder. A Paramedic stuck it in my pocket. Then called that evening to see how I was. You wonder why I do not want to move down in the boonies where my kids live? And my old Church has a First Responders Breakfast every year.
 
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I teach CPR with a couple of paramedics...sometimes they can provide treatment on the spot. One case, a little girl stuck her finger into a bottle or something and could not get it out. The paramedic removed it, checked it for injury and left. People really abuse 911 as far as health care. The ER's could not accommodate legitimate conditions and the bogus ones at the same time. Another example, if they respond to a drug overdose and Narcon revives them, they won't transport.
They now have the equipment to do anything, in constant contact with the hospital
 
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I am less concerned with mollycoddling white racists and more concerned with avoiding trauma, humiliation, or worse to law-abiding black Americans who cause fear merely by existing.

There have been deaths, including one here in Cleveland, as a result of this behavior.
Problem is, hate crimes are tough to prove.

OK, how's this:

Someone calls 911 to report their PoC neighbor for bullshit reasons. Cops show up, figure out they're a racist PoS (assuming the cops who show up aren't racist PoS themselves, which is dicey at best). Caller gets slapped with a very painful fine that goes towards educating people to knock this shit off.

Someone calls 911 to report their PoC neighbor for bullshit reasons. Maybe they're legit scared, maybe not. Cops show up and someone is killed. Cop(s) involved is/are taken off the street (with pay) until investigation is complete. If cop(s) share blame, they owe that money back, and they don't get their job back, and they are suspended from carrying a firearm in the line of their profession for five years. They can be a mall cop with a bullhorn or whatever. Who cares. Not our problem. Caller gets manslaughter and prison time, family gets real restitution, from the taxpayers if need be. That's on us for not having more competent cops.

Someone calls 911 to report their PoC neighbor and says they're committing a crime they aren't committing. Cops show up and someone is killed. Same as above, but hate crime enhancement. Cop(s) still suspended as above. Bigger restitution. It's still all on us for being dipshits and not fixing this crap.
 
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Oct 2013
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I'm against hate crime and other add on penalties in general. Feels too much like double jeopardy for my comfort. Since laws outlaw false reports that works for me.
 
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I'm against hate crime and other add on penalties in general. Feels too much like double jeopardy for my comfort. Since laws outlaw false reports that works for me.
In special education we sometimes use the term "fading". It's what you do with a solution that may be less than ideal to provide support and stability in the short term, but lessen over time until it is no longer needed.
 
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Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
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I'm against hate crime and other add on penalties in general. Feels too much like double jeopardy for my comfort. Since laws outlaw false reports that works for me.
"Double Jeopardy" means being put on trial to be convicted (and thence punished) twice for the same crime (by the same jurisdiction). It has nothing to do with sentence enhancements.
 
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