We support HB 3216 which creates a civil cause of action for a person injured by another person unlawfully summoning a police officer.
Summoning of law enforcement by members of the public should be limited to true public safety and emergency issues. Law enforcement officers have a responsibility to address issues pertaining to public safety. Indeed, when conflicts between community members or circumstances arise that reach a level of seriousness where members of our community are truly in danger of harm, police intervention may be necessary. However, we have seen numerous instances of police officers being called to intervene in situations where no danger is present, fueled by bias and discrimination. These incidents can deeply and negatively affect vulnerable communities. HB 3216 is an attempt to help shift the public’s understanding of the impact of these incidents and help direct our law enforcement resources back to public safety.
By providing a civil remedy to unlawful summoning of a police officer, a person may be held accountable without criminal consequences. We believe accountability outside our criminal justice system should be sought whenever possible. If a person is found to have knowingly called the police on another person, with the intent to infringe on their constitutional rights; unlawfully discriminate against them; cause them to feel harassed, humiliated or embarrassed; cause them to be expelled from somewhere they have a right to be; or damage their reputation or economic interests; the harmed party may seek justice in civil court.