Some false police reports could be considered hate crime if proposed New York bill passes

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Published: May. 28, 2020 at 6:38 PM EDT
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A proposed law would deem some false police reports a hate crime in New York.

CBS News reported that the proposed legislation would make falsely reporting criminal incidents a hate crime. The bill has gained support after video footage of a white woman calling the police on a black man who asked her to put her dog on a leash in Central Park went viral.

Amy Cooper can be seen in the video telling police that an African American man is "threatening her life." Cooper later apologized after the video caused outrage across the nation.

New York legislators proposed the bill for the first time in 2018. It was proposed by New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and was introduced to the senate this week by New York Sen. Brian Benjamin.

"This feels like terrorism to me to be to be really frank, because it's just something that's so scary," Benjamin, a Manhattan democrat, told CBS News correspondent Mola Lenghi.

The bill calls for additional penalties for hate crime "enhancements" on top of sentences for other crimes, such as harassment or assault, if the victim is targeted because of their race, religion, or other protected characteristic.

In a statement, Benjamin said he worried that if she had not been filmed, "this woman may have been given the benefit of the doubt, and that this man could have faced serious, perhaps life-threatening consequences."

The New York City Commission on Human Rights announced Wednesday that they are investigating the incident with Cooper.

Copyright 2020 WVLT via CBS News. All rights reserved.