The Santa Cruz County (CA) Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of a new ordinance that makes it illegal to call 911 or law enforcement on someone because of bias.
The new law creates civil penalties — up to a thousand dollars — against anyone who reports someone to law enforcement because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or other legally protected classes, CBS San Francisco reports.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office proposed the ordinance to the Board of Supervisors. Supporters say the goal is to reduce the number of racially motivated calls to law enforcement specifically and not to discourage people from using 911 to report legitimate concerns.
“We’re not trying to stop that. People have to make calls when something’s wrong. But it wouldn’t be bad if people thought twice and were aware of the entire situation,” says Natalia Fermin.
Others however worry that people will be penalized for doing exactly what law enforcement has long encourage the public to do — to report anything that seems or anyone who seems suspicious.