COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two Democratic Ohio lawmakers have just proposed a bill to address the rising issues with false 911 calls. Rep. Thomas West and Rep. Casey Weinstein are the two behind the proposal. It was introduced Wednesday as "Darren's Law."
The bill was named after Hudson resident Darren Cooper.
Last August Cooper was the victim of one of these false 911 calls. According to the Ohio House website, "At the time a woman in a parking lot across the street made the call, Mr. Cooper was sitting in his parked car talking on the phone. The woman claimed that Mr. Cooper was holding a gun and raising it repeatedly, according to officers, but Mr. Cooper explained that he was holding his iPhone while talking on speaker phone."
Cooper joined the two representatives on Wednesday when the bill was introduced.
"I'm very thankful to be here today to stand up and speak out for individuals who are no longer with us," he said.
Under the bill, the victim of a false and racially motivated 911 call could sue the caller in civil court for monetary damages. If the court rules in favor of the victim, the caller would have to pay damages and undergo court-ordered implicit bias training. Plus that person would have to prove they completed the training to a court.
"Rep. Weinstein and I are bringing this legislation forward to make sure what happened to Darren doesn't happen to other individuals in Ohio, doesn't happen to people who look like Darren or myself," said Rep. West.
"Racial profiling is a tricky subject and one that many prefer we ignore however we must not let the conversation's challenging nature prevent us from discussing the pervasive problem at hand and racial profiling in emergency calls is a problem a dangerous one that we must acknowledge and address," said Rep. Weinstein.
The pair said they are working to reach across the aisle and gain support from Republican leaders in Ohio. They're also looking for feedback from police departments around the state.