New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday signed a bill that criminalizes false police reports used as a form of racial or bias intimidation.
“Using the threat of a 9-1-1 call or police report as an intimidation tactic against people of color is an unacceptable, abhorrent form of discrimination,” Murphy said in a statement.
The new law amends the current one that already states that filing a false police report is a crime. It comes as protesters across the U.S. demand racial justice and as videos of alleged false reports surface online.
"This irresponsible misuse of our 9-1-1 system places victims in a potentially dangerous situation, and can erode trust between Black and Brown New Jerseyans and law enforcement. Individuals who choose to weaponize this form of intimidation should held be accountable to the fullest extent of the law," the governor continued.
Several such incidents have been reported across the tri-state. In July, a couple in New Jersey said their white neighbor called the police on them over a permit to build a patio in their backyard.
Video of the dispute was then circulated on Facebook. Fareed and Norrinda Hayat claimed the woman called the police because they are Black, adding that the woman had been harassing them for two years. Police say no complaints were filed in the case.
In New York City, a white woman was charged in the same month after she called 911 on a Black birdwatcher who told her to put her dog on a leash in Central Park.
The viral video from May showed Amy Cooper calling police on Christian Cooper and frantically claiming he was threatening her and her dog.
“We have seen, time and time again, the immense physical and emotional impact of weaponizing the police against Black and brown individuals. No one should fear having the police called on them simply because they are walking their dog, barbequing with friends or asking a fellow New Yorker to follow the law," said Democratic State Senator Shirley Turner.