Columnists Earl Ofari Hutchinson Opinion

THE HUTCHINSON REPORT: Don’t let racists skate on false police calls

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Contributing Columnist

The rash of incidents where whites falsely call the police on blacks would be laughable if the consequences of these blatantly bigoted acts didn’t pose such lethal peril to blacks. So what’s being done about it? Here’s what.

The black accused protests their innocence. The police come and survey the scene and quickly decide the claim of a crime is bogus. A video of the phony claim goes viral. Blacks loudly scream racism. The white accuser is publicly shamed and embarrassed; then makes a teary-eyed apology. In a couple of the more outrageous instances, the white accuser is canned from or reprimanded at their job.

Then everyone goes on their merry way. That is until the next screech by a white fingering an alleged black lawbreaker.

And make no mistake, there will be another, another and another such claim somewhere sometime against an innocent unsuspecting black. There will be another precisely because there is absolutely no consequence for picking up the phone, dialing 911 and screaming that an innocent, unsuspecting black presents some dire danger to the accuser.

It’s that way because in almost all cases the black victimized by the racist call gives the caller a pass. This pass amounts to a virtual license to get away with it and keep getting away with it. It’s time to revoke that pass. The law is very clear on how to do it.

A false police report is defined as intentionally giving false or incorrect information to the police about an alleged crime or an alleged perpetrator. This can be a crime that didn’t occur, giving a false name, exaggerating or falsely describing the alleged crime or perpetrator and, most of all, giving false information about the crime.

In every one of the cases where whites called the cops on a black homeowner entering his home, his apartment or simply walking down the street, the information given was patently false. Needless to say, there was no crime committed. Typically, the police respond, determine no crime was committed and then quickly exit.

They shouldn’t. The innocent party has the right to demand that the party making the call be arrested for filing a false police report. If the police refuse, which is likely, their retort being that they legally must respond when a call is made, that shouldn’t end the matter.

A complaint can be filed at the station by the aggrieved party. That does two things. It forces the police to investigate and it puts the false accuser on legal notice that they could be subject to prosecution for the false report.

This, in effect, turns the table and puts the accuser on notice that they could well wind up in the legal docket for their action. At the very least, it makes the accuser sweat for an act that this supposed law-abiding citizen never dreamed they would be called on the carpet for.

This would almost certainly get press and public attention. This would heap more shame and embarrassment on the racist accuser. That is not a small point.

In some states it is a felony to file a false claim. And even in states such as California, where filing a false police report is a misdemeanor, a conviction carries a sentence of up to six months in jail. An added note, the false police report does not have to be made solely to the police. It can also be to a 911 operator.

That isn’t the end of it. The racist caller can be sued. The racist accusation is tantamount to defamation of character. That is a tougher hurdle to leap.

There would have to be proof that the person filed the false police report with the intent to injure the person and that the victim’s reputation was hurt by the filing of the false report.

That usually means the loss of a job, but it could also mean damage to a person’s reputation in the community. A black businessman who had the police pounce on him because a white saw him entering his business after hours could well make the case that the false complaint did indeed cause him irreparable damage because of the unfavorable media attention he received.

Win or lose, it still would force the false accuser to have to mount a legal defense against the suit. The result is the accuser’s name is publicly muddied. Again, the tables are turned, and the black victim gets a measure of legal recourse. And it sends the message that there’s a price to be paid for this racist act.

The days when a fraudulent white accuser can effortlessly call the police on a black kid playing ball or a black getting into his own car and then get away with it with a crocodile tear “I’m sorry” must end.

The only way that can and will happen is when those blacks that find themselves on the raw end of a bogus 911 call with police descending on them end it. When they don’t take action to do that, I blame them for letting racist whites get away with it.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of “Make a Democratic Blue Wave More than Talk” (Amazon). He also is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One and the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.