The Abuse of 911 by Trump Supporters Must Stop

Are fines, short-term imprisonment and involuntary psychiatric holds crazy ideas to stop the 911-abuse epidemic in this country?

And they have the nerve to regard Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) as “low-IQ.”

If you want to know who the biggest morons in the United States are, just look at the legions of obvious Trump supporters (c’mon, you know damn well none of these people went for Hillary) who have lost jobs and anonymity, along with their minds, after calling 911 in transparent efforts to bring harm to African-Americans whose mere presence inconveniences them. The recent 911-abuse incident in Tennessee is perhaps the most pathetic:

A white manager of a Memphis apartment complex was fired after she called the police on a black man wearing socks in the pool on the Fourth of July.

The man, Kevin Yates, and his girlfriend, Camry Porter, said they had taken Ms. Porter’s two young godsons swimming at the pool at Riverset Apartments, where Ms. Porter lives. They said they were the only black people at the pool.

Mr. Yates, 25, was watching the children play in the pool, sitting at the edge with his feet dipped in the water, when a woman who identified herself as a property manager asked him to remove his socks because they were not “proper pool attire,” the couple said. When he did not remove his socks or leave the property, they said, she called the police.

Ms. Porter, 25, posted an account of the incident on Facebook, along with video of their conversation with a police officer.

In an interview on Sunday, she said she felt racially targeted by the manager…She said white people were wearing clothing other than swimsuits, such as hats or shirts, in the pool.

“It’s not the issue with socks,” Ms. Porter said. “If socks were not to be worn, that was very well fine. The issue was we were the only one addressed.”

There is no doubt that the “Permit Pattys,” “Pool Patrol Paulas,” “BBQ Beckys,” and “ID Adams” of this country believe that calling 911 in the hopes that police brutality will be visited upon innocent people of color is just one more way to make America great again. There is also no doubt that states (at least the blue ones) must pass strong legislation involving heavy fines and even possible short-term imprisonment to deter those who use 911 as a vessel for their racial resentment. Even Trumpistas will think twice about possibly going to prison before they choose to weaponize 911 in this manner. (And it would be poetic justice for the “lock her up” crowd, no?)

Another potential solution to the 911-abuse epidemic in this country could involve involuntary short-term psychiatric commitment. This almost happened in the “BBQ Becky” case:

Jennifer Schulte, the Oakland, CA woman virally known as “BBQ Becky,” was evaluated for an involuntary psychiatric hold after she called police to report a group of black men for having a BBQ in a public park.

The internet quickly turned Schulte into a meme earlier this month after a 25-minute video surfaced showing her phoning police to report black park-goer Kenzie Smith and his friends for using a charcoal grill in a non-designated area in Lake Merritt park. She specifically pointed out their race to the 911 dispatcher.

According to the Oakland Police incident report, the confrontation – filmed by Smith’s wife, Michelle Snider – lasted roughly two hours and featured Schulte on the phone with police the entire time. It has since gained over 2 million views.

The incident report states she told police one of the “suspects” was following and harassing her. Shortly before police arrived, the 911 operator noted that Schulte “sounds 5150,” meaning they believed she may require an involuntary psychiatric hold.

Eventually, cops got to the convenience store where Schulte was waiting along with Snider, who was still filming. The police did decide to evaluate Schulte for a 5150 hold, but ultimately felt she did not fit the criteria to be placed under an involuntary hold.

The fact that “BBQ Becky” called 911 to report individuals cooking while black should have been more than enough to warrant a 5150 determination. Again, perhaps Trumpistas will think twice before using 911 to harass people of color if they know such a call might result in their being placed under psychiatric care.

Are fines, short-term imprisonment and involuntary psychiatric holds crazy ideas to stop the 911-abuse epidemic in this country? Maybe. Then again, as the British singer Seal once put it, we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy—and the next innocent person of color might not survive an interaction with law enforcement prompted by a Trumpista who calls 911 for no rational reason. This foolishness has to stop now. The national abuse of 911 is a far bigger threat to everyday Americans than MS-13 is–and states must step up to neutralize this threat as soon as possible.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.