(Brooklyn, NY) - On Thursday October 18, New York State Senator Kevin Parker along with his government colleague Assemblywoman Diana Richardson held an urgent press conference to address the issue of the abuses of 911 calls for non-emergency cases as seen in a number of recent incidents across the country. The most recent took place just last week in the 21st Senate District when a 9-year-old boy - who was in the presence of his mother - was accused of sexually assaulting a White woman - Teresa Klein. Klein alleged that the child grouped her in a crowded neighborhood convenience store and then motioned as if she was calling 911 to arrest both he and his mother. The accuser later apologized after the store’s surveillance footage showed that the boy’s book bag unintentionally grazed her. But the damage was already done, sparking widespread community outrage at the blatant display of bias.
In August, Senator Kevin Parker created legislation aimed at preventing occurrences such as this one of people misusing emergency services by calling 911. Senate Bill S.9150 calls for the misuse of 911 calls to be classified as a Class B misdemeanor. If the Bill were enacted into law, a person found guilty of reporting a non-emergency incident when it is unlikely that a threat to public safety will be the result could face up to 3 months in jail and a $500.00 fine. Assemblywoman Diana Richardson is carrying the bill in the State Assembly. Joined by other elected officials and community leaders, the two lawmakers highlighted the urgent need for passage of the legislation, and to spur Governor Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to convene a Special Session of the State Legislature immediately to adopt the proposed law.
“As we have seen just up the street with the Red Apple Nails salon beating of a Black woman and her elderly mother; the blocking of D’Arreion Toles by a White woman from entering his home; the young men that were arrested for simply sitting in Starbucks while Black, and in Oakland with a White woman calling law enforcement on Black people for barbecuing, the lives, rights, and wellbeing of Black and Brown people continue to be in peril and under attack,” said State Senator Kevin Parker. “This new cunning, yet brazen, way of expressing hatred for people of color is unconscionable and we must work together to stop this line of attack dead in its tracks. New York State cannot stand idle as this new trend of falsely calling law enforcement on Black and Brown New Yorkers permeates our state.”
Senator Parker continued, “My colleagues and I understand that this legislation is by no means a solution to the systematic injustices and prejudices that fuels these calls to the police to rid the privileged of the presence of Black and Brown individuals they feel unworthy of enjoying the freedoms they enjoy. However, we do believe that it is our duty to immediately mitigate this current and unfortunate state of affairs so that we can come together to have a larger discussion aimed at ensuring respect and tolerance for the differences between us, that ultimately should unite us,” concluded the Brooklyn lawmaker.
“I applaud Senator Parker for doing his job – creating a timely and much needed law to protect the rights of people of color. I know that with the support of my colleagues and the community, we will do what’s needed to rid our state of this new divisive tactic employed by those who seek to disregard the existence of Black and Brown people,” stated Assemblywoman Richardson.
Monique Chandler-Waterman, Community Advocate and Founder / Executive Director of East Flatbush Village attended the press event as well and stated, “As a mother of four who works with hundreds of youth in the community every day, I am inclined to focus on the trauma endured by the tender 9 year old child. Outside of Senator Parker’s critical and essential legislation, we now need to focus also on how to reverse the long-term negative impact of this incident on the young boy. This situation is a clear example of how adverse experiences can shape one's life.” Chandler-Waterman went on to say, “We also need additional financial resources directed towards organizations that support mental health initiatives. When all is said and done, the family will still need consistent support.”
About NYS Senator Kevin Parker
Senator Kevin S. Parker represents the ethnically diverse Brooklyn district comprised of sections of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Ditmas Park, Kensington, Windsor Terrace, and Park Slope. A lifelong Brooklyn resident, he is the Ranking Democratic Member on the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, as well as the Whip for the Senate Democratic Conference. He is a member of the Senate Democratic Conference Policy Group; Member of the Senate Select Committee on Technology & Innovation; and Member of the Senate Democratic Minority and Women-Owned Business (MWBE) Task Force. For the 2018-2019 Legislative Session, Senator Parker serves on the Senate Standing Committees on Finance; Rules; Higher Education; Labor; Insurance, and Banks.
To learn more about Senator Parker, please visit www.nysenate.gov/senators/kevin-s-parker.