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People continue to weaponize 911 calls against Black people despite all of the examples of how such calls can go wrong. But a Norman, Oklahoma, man wants authorities to start going after people to deter such harassment.

Arrested at gunpoint while pumping gas, Steven Bomar was accused of pulling a gun on another driver in an alleged road rage incident. Bomar told ABC News he suspected a white driver followed him for several blocks after cutting him off at a fast-food spot and calling him a racial slur. 

Officers told Bomar he was being detained, not arrested, because someone “called in on you.” Not letting his frustration get the best of him, Bomar told the officers to search his vehicle. Of course, no gun was found. 

According to video footage reviewed by ABC, the dispatcher could not reach the person who made the call. An officer remarked that the call seemed like a setup to harass Bomar. 

Police reported the incident is still under investigation but also expressed concern with these types of false calls. It’s a good thing responding officers didn’t overreact. 

Bomar told local media that officers apologized to him after realizing the misunderstanding. He’s definitely one of the lucky ones. 

John Crawford and then 12-year-old Tamir Rice are among the many Black people harmed or killed because people falsely called police on them. 

Bomar isn’t the first person to call for additional scrutiny of people who make false 911 calls based on race. Last summer, some lawmakers considered pursuing fines against people who make race-based false 911 calls. 

Most places have laws for filing false police reports, but some thought the additional enhanced penalty could deter such reports. In October, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Caution Against Racially and Exploitative Non-Emergencies (CAREN)

Following numerous high-profile incidents of Black and other people of color being harassed with false 911 calls, the CAREN Act attempted to deter such behavior and provide victims with a way to recover damages. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors called racially motivated fake 911 calls a form of violence. The act is supposed to give people who have been harassed with a false 911 call the ability to recover up to $1,000 in damages plus attorneys fees. 

News reports point to the case of a Filipino man accosted by a white couple for chalking Black Lives Matter on the side of his property as one of several incidents that pushed the act’s introduction last July. 

Whether the adoption of the CAREN Act will work as an actual deterrent is yet to be seen. But increased scrutiny and enforcement would depend on the same agencies who already shrug off the misuse of 911.


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Black Man Wrongfully Held At Gunpoint By Police Wants Charges For False 911 Calls  was originally published on