If you could be fined for calling the police to report suspicious and/or potentially criminal behavior, would you call the police?

The City of Grand Rapids is reporting that the Grand Rapids City Commission just passed a new human rights ordinance which will do just that. I am not saying they intended for this ordinance to stop people from calling the police but in-effect it may.

Along with making it conflicting with city policy for anyone to deny any individual the enjoyment of civil rights because of actual or perceived color, sexual orientation or any other protected class.  I believe this new policy will also deter people from calling in on suspicious activity, I know I would not.  Why chance it in this day in age of everyone, especially white people, are guilty of something such as microaggressions or outright racism/bigotry.

This new policy will include making bias crime reporting a civil infraction.  Bias crime reporting, what exactly is that?  What they believe it means is when you call the police on someone you suspect might be committing a crime and that person is a different color than you.  I wonder if they will apply that to people of color calling on white people they suspect are committing a crime or just committing what they perceive as suspicious activity.

Starting on December 1, 2019 it will be a civil infraction with a fine of up to $500 to call the police and racially profile people of color for non-criminal matters.  They then state the civil infraction will be prosecuted if the call is made solely as an act of discrimination. If someone is found in violation of the ordinance, they could face a fine of up to $500.

How exactly will they determine if a white person called the police to inform them of suspicious activity or what they believe may be a crime being committed, did so because of the color of their skin or any other trait?  Your guess is as good as mine.

In response to the public being concerned that this will deter people from calling the police, Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne said:

This is not a deterrent for people to call the police department when they see actual crimes being committed…We’ve always encouraged that ... This will hopefully impact those who have hate in their hearts for whatever groups out there that solely call us to intervene in something that’s not criminal in nature.

Sure Chief Payne, you go ahead and keep thinking that while your city crime increases.

According to the City of Grand Rapids the approved ordinance:

  • Adds definitions for bias and retaliation to the list of definitions
  • Adds familial status – family makeup – to the list of protected classes
  • Expands membership of the Community Relations Commission to up to 13 members and provides clarity on the CRC’s role and responsibilities
  • Outlines complaint and referral procedures that the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, in collaboration with the City Attorney’s Office, will follow
  • Defines the referral process in more detail for investigations to be conducted by outside parties for complaints that fall under their jurisdiction, such as MDCR, Fair Housing and GRPD.
  • Adds language to allow the City Attorney’s Office and Office of Diversity and Inclusion to issue citations under the ordinance
  • Refines prohibitions on discrimination and Identified the 4 primary areas of discrimination
  • Adds reference to the City Code regarding false information to the “Bias Crime Reporting Prohibition” and makes it up to a $500 civil infraction to knowingly or recklessly report an individual, who is an actual or perceived member of a protected class, has committed, may commit or will commit a crime, if such report is based in whole or in part on the individuals' membership in a protected class and without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
  • Adds a retaliation section to protect individuals who bring forward complaints

By the way under this ordinance the City of Grand Rapids defines protected classes as:

  1. actual or perceived color
  2. race
  3. religion or creed
  4. sex
  5. gender
  6. identity or expression
  7. sexual orientation
  8. national origin
  9. genotype
  10. age
  11. marital status
  12. medical condition
  13. disability
  14. height
  15. weight
  16. or source of lawful income.

Pretty much sounds like just about everything and anything will be covered, do you believe they might have missed a particular political identity group in their list?

Will the “actual or perceived color” also be extended to people of no color, that being white?

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