Lawmakers Pass Bill To Let People Sue If Others Call The Police On Them

The proposed legislation would pave the way for people to sue citizens who call the police on them.

Salem, OR – The Oregon Senate has passed legislation that would pave the way for people to sue citizens who call police on people it is determined they haven’t broken any laws.

“When someone gets the police called on them for just existing in public, it sends a message that you don’t belong here,” Representative Janelle Bynum, the bill’s sponsor, told the Associated Press.

Although HB-3216 does not make it a crime to call police, it does create a means by which those who feel they have been wronged can file a lawsuit against callers.

Such lawsuits would be filed in small claims courts, and plaintiffs would be permitted to claim damages of up to $250, plus punitive damages and attorney fees.

“This creates a legal pathway to justice for those of us who have to worry about getting the cops called on us for existing in public,” Bynum said. “There’s a certain amount of your dignity that is stripped when you are stopped by the police for doing nothing but existing.”

While the law was promoted as an anti-racism law to prevent the public from calling police on black people going about their everyday lives, the wording on the law is much more lenient.

The law allows people to sue if anybody calls the police on them to expel them from a place where they are lawfully located.

For example, if a homeless person is sleeping in a public library, and a citizen calls the police to investigate, the caller could be liable.

“I wanted to spark a community conversation about how we make people feel welcome in our community and the danger that malicious 911 calls place on the lives of minorities,” Bynum told the Los Angeles Times. “I believe that this bill is an important part of that conversation, and will hopefully lead people to think carefully before calling the police.”

The senate passed the legislation in a landslide 27-1 vote on Monday, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

“I don’t think some of my colleagues understand how fearful it can be,” said Senator Lew Frederick, who is black. “I’ve said very simply when a police officer stops me, I wonder if I’m going to live the rest of the day. It’s a very direct, clear fear. Hard to get that across to my colleagues who don’t have that kind of fear.”

Senator Alan Olsen – the only Oregon senator who voted against the measure – said he is afraid the legislation will negatively affect Neighborhood Watch programs.

“It concerns me when we pass legislation that would stifle this group of folks protecting their neighborhood,” Olsen explained.

City leaders in Grand Rapids, Michigan are considering a similar city ordinance, which would make it a criminal offense for citizens to call police on black people if it is ultimately determined they haven’t committed any crimes.

Anyone determined to have violated the ordinance would face a potential $500 fine, according to WOOD.

Critics noted that the proposed Grand Rapids ordinance would be difficult to enforce because the intent of the person calling police is not always known.

“How will investigators of the alleged bias determine what is truly a sinister and criminal motive from a simple misunderstanding?” one citizen asked the city commission, according to The Washington Post.

Others expressed concerns that people would likely hesitate to report crimes to police out of fear of making a mistake and being criminally charged.

Law enforcement agencies generally encourage people to report suspicious behavior, even if they don't know a crime is being committed.

Citizens also noted that filing a false police report is already an illegal act, and argued that the new ordinance is redundant.

State legislators in Michigan and New York attempted to pass similar measures in 2018, but those efforts failed, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Oregon legislation will now go back to the House for signoff on a slight alteration before it is passed on to the governor, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

Comments (70)
No. 1-27
Mig Alley
Mig Alley

Wait......... What? 🙄

BlueLM101
BlueLM101

I like this idea! I mean, if you call the police and it is determined to be a bogus claim then you can be charged with abuse of 911 or other crimes. I don't think that this should mean that if you are believed to be doing something wrong, and the cops are called on you, you should get a payday. It should be limited to occasions when the call is determined to be totally bogus.

Hunterriley
Hunterriley

NEWSFLASH....THERE IS OVER 30 MILLION PEOPLE THAT DON'T BELONG HERE AND NEED TO BE DEPORTED... NEWS FLASH....OREGON IS TURNING INTO A CESSPOOL

Logic Required
Logic Required

Either crime will rise or the number of anonymous callers will sky rocket.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Good!

LEO0301
LEO0301

There goes that "see something, say something" thing the government was encouraging.

JBo
JBo

I wonder if lawmakers really think about the ramifications of the legislation they pass.

For example: "For example, if a homeless person is sleeping in a public library, and a citizen calls the police to investigate, the caller could be liable."

What if this homeless person had a cardiac event and died because people are afraid to call based on liability fears?

I understand about "Pool Patty", "Golf-cart Gail", "Depressed Debbie" and the rest of the idiots but you cannot legislate to prevent STUPID.

Also: "...make it a criminal offense for citizens to call police on black people if it is..."

No racism there, right?

So the take on this law is to mind your own business, see nothing, hear nothing, speak nothing. Do nothing.

Gap Filler
Gap Filler

why only black people?

DavidPeoria
DavidPeoria

There is a strange guy lurking around the school trying to talk to the little children. OK sir what is your name for the report. Oh oh oh never mind.

LetGodSortItOut
LetGodSortItOut

I LOVE this! I pray the legislature passes this and the state of Oregon implodes!

Ljubica48
Ljubica48

Although HB-3216 does not make it a crime to call police, it does create a means by which those who feel they have been wronged can file a lawsuit against callers.

Such lawsuits would be filed in small claims courts, and plaintiffs would be permitted to claim damages of up to $250, plus punitive damages and attorney fees.

Every cloud has a silver lining. People will be very reluctant to call 911, because they will not want to risk having to waste a day in small claims court defending themselves, let alone risking losing $250 simply because they called the police about a public safety concern. This should translate into a substantial reduction in calls for service, which translates into a reduced need for police officers on the street. This solves the crisis that Portland Oregon has in trying to hire and retain police officers in their infamously anti-police city government.

With the reduced need for police officers and 911 dispatchers, Portland can redirect that money into accommodating their out-of-control homeless population with even more services and freebies. And of course, they can build even more bicycle lanes. It's a win-win all around.

johnnycab23513
johnnycab23513

See something, say nothing!

djaznh
djaznh

Really stupid idea, but Oregon so..

Pacho
Pacho

Old european words: GOD FREE ME FROM THE KING WHO WAS ONCE A SLAVE..

CantFS
CantFS

I guess SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING has been liberalized.

Rngrsfan
Rngrsfan

While being a retired 911 dispatcher we had MANY CALLERS whom stated they want to remain anonymous and you cant force them to tell you who they are. Whats the mayor hoing to fo then? Stupid is as Stupid does😂

walkintall
walkintall

Just fookin' dandy.

Stanracer
Stanracer

This nutjob mayor is buying in to the media lies, the politicians lies and the domestic terrorist group BLM's lies. Sad.

Madmax11
Madmax11

I guess that's the end of, "If you see something, say something." This is stuff that terrorists could only dream of.

Ladyfluterby
Ladyfluterby

Boy if that law existed here in California right now I could get a steady income off of my neighbor. He calls the police on us at least once a week for parking on the public street in an area that he has determined belongs to him dissipate the fact that the police tell him over and over we are not in violation of the law. Hmmm, I wonder if I could get punitive damages and claim discrimination because he has singled out my husband and I because we are white and he is black. Double whammy would be he also discriminates because we rent our home and he is purchasing his.

Do-The-Job-Right
Do-The-Job-Right

Good!

MikeJ.
MikeJ.

There should be punishment for making bogus calls to the police. The bogus caller is putting that person’s life in danger.

Mrs10
Mrs10

Every time I read an insane story like this my first reaction is "Thank God I live in Oklahoma!!"

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

“I don’t think some of my colleagues understand how fearful it can be,” said Senator Lew Frederick, who is black. “I’ve said very simply when a police officer stops me, I wonder if I’m going to live the rest of the day. It’s a very direct, clear fear. Hard to get that across to my colleagues who don’t have that kind of fear.” Your fear is completely unfounded, and all in your head.

Want to live through the day? follow the officers instructions. Don't try to fight him. Don't run from him. don't pull a (toy) gun on him. don't try to hit him with your car. Act like a responsible adult, and don't resist arrest. The time to challenge the arrest is not with the cop, it's when you get in front of a judge. It's not that hard, but that something this senator (or maybe his constituents) have issues doing.

Watchman53
Watchman53

this is a stupid law police have better thing to do then deal with ass wipe

JOHNNYTUNDRA
JOHNNYTUNDRA

Im sorry, but who’s getting 911 called on them for “existing”?Its obviously which people pushed to get this law passed.

Mig Alley
Mig Alley

Look in lower right hand corner of picture. Any questions?