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Bill designed to reduce racially motivated or intimidating calls to police passes Nevada Legislature

Posted at 5:20 AM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 08:27:02-04

CARSON CITY (KTNV) — In response to a slate of viral videos showing people call, or threaten to call, the police on people of color who've not committed a crime or with the intention of threatening the person of color, the Nevada Legislature introduced AB 157.

The bill would allow anyone who'd been the victim of a false call to police based on discrimination to sue the caller in a civil case and potentially collect damages.

Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno is the primary sponsor of the bill and specifically cited the case of a white woman who'd been charged with making a false call to police on an African American bird watcher in New York in May 2020.

As a former law enforcement official herself, Monroe-Moreno said the calls can be dangerous for people of color and waste police officer's time and resources.

"People in our community can try to use the police as their own weapon, and as a law enforcement officer, our time is precious," she said. "We're there to serve and protect and address real crimes being committed in our societies, and our hands being tied up on these frivolous and criminal calls has to come to an end."

Steve Grammas, president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, agreed with Monroe-Moreno while testifying in support of the bill.

Grammas said there was no question that AB 157 would reduce the number of frivolous calls coming into police departments freeing their time and resources for legitimate criminal enforcement.

The only critique to the bill came from Republican Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer who said the bill didn't go far enough.

Settelmeyer argued that Nevada should follow federal law and include a provision in the bill that any time someone's constitutional rights are violated by a defendant in a civil suit, the defendant should be responsible for paying the other party's attorney's fees.

AB 157 has passed both chambers of the legislature with bipartisan support and was sent to Gov. Steve Sisolak for a signature.