Some activists in Los Angeles have started a petition to try to get lawmakers to make it a hate crime to falsely accuse someone of a crime based on their race.
They also want those convicted of hate crimes listed in a national database.
A similar law has been introduced in New York and Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he supports expanding hate crime laws in that state. But LA activists want nationwide news laws in place.
A notorious cellphone video of a white woman in Central Park calling 911 to falsely claim she was being threatened by an African-American man is part of what inspired a group of activists in Los Angeles to launch a change.org petition, urging lawmakers to make it a hate crime to make false charges based on race.
“It really came from a place of frustration,” said LaKeysha Edwards, an activist from LA.
Edwards, who attended Sunday’s protest in Hollywood, got together with two friends, Donald George and Hess Wesley, to create the petition. She says it’s clear to her, Amy Cooper, the woman seen in the Central Park video, was trying to arm police against a black man.
“She knew she was in a position,” Edwards said. “She had a privilege, if you will, because of who she was. She could say those three words ‘African American’ and that would trigger something that’s always started something in this country.”
Edwards also quotes this video of Brandon McCormick, a white man from Salt Lake City who pointed a bow, arrows and knife at protesters shouting “all lives matter!”
Protesters took away his weapons and set his car on fire as the police brought him to safety. He then claimed two African-American men assaulted him while he was still in his car and defending himself, a claim the video does not appear to support.
McCormick has been charged with weapon misdemeanor and assault, but not hate crime.
“Again, it comes down to a feeling of privilege – like you think you can come here with a gun, with the intention of hurting or intimidating someone, and you feel like nothing is wrong with you. would happen… You felt bold enough to make this move, ”said Edwards.
LA activists also want lawmakers to create a federal database of people convicted of hate crimes, similar to the public registry the United States now has for sex offenders.
Edwards says she is encouraged that Democrats have brought in a police reform bill, but fears they are simply trying to pacify protesters in the short term. She says if real change is not made, the protests will continue.