Bill Seeks to Penalize Those Who Misuse the Emergency Call System to Harass or Intimidate Others

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Jones-Sawyer’s AB 1775 Creates Fines and Penalties for Illegal Use of 911 System

LOS ANGELES, California – (July 15, 2020) – Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer has authored AB 1775 in response to a growing number of incidents where a person knowingly uses the emergency call system (911) with the purpose of harassing another individual. Current law only provides for a warning while AB 1775 will make a first violation punishable by a $250 fine or a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in a county jail, or both. The bill would make a second violation a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in a county jail, or a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

“There are multiple serious issues the Emergency Call System deals with on a daily basis including health related, criminal activity, and physical injury – what the system does not need are calls dealing with racial profiling or acts of personal hate or prejudices,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer, who also serves as the Chair of the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee.

The 911 system has increasingly been used to threaten other individuals with police action solely based upon characteristics including race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and color of skin. Additionally, the call system has been used to threaten action by federal agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) against minority populations.

AB 1775 would further punish individuals who make such calls based upon hate crime laws by adding a misdemeanor charge with up to one-year in a county jail, a fine of not less than $500 or more than $2,000, or both.

“By increasing the penalty for certain crimes to make them punishable by imprisonment in a county jail and monetary fines, I hope people will think twice about making such claims and attempting to fan the flames of hate in our country. The Emergency Call System is built to handle true emergencies and misuse of the system jeopardizes the lives of those in need of first-responders and places individuals who are the targets of hate and threats in harm’s way with potentially devasting outcomes,” added Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer.

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Contact: Richard Garcia, Richard.garcia@asm.ca.gov

About Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer

Reggie Jones-Sawyer represents the communities of Huntington Park, Florence-Firestone, Walnut Park, South Los Angeles and Exposition Park in the Assembly’s 59th District. Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer currently serves as the Chair of the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee and has a family legacy in the Civil Rights Movement. Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer is a fierce proponent of second chances and fairness within the law. A champion of minority, social justice and civil rights causes, Jones-Sawyer has authored and had legislation signed into law related to ending discrimination in housing, providing mental health grants and supportive services to schools and expanding opportunities and growth to small and start-up business.