When white people call law enforcement on people of color for unnecessary reasons, they are adding to an existing problem, since minority groups are more likely to face police violence or harsh punishment from the justice system.
…Black and white people call law enforcement at different rates, with people of color calling the police far less than their white counterparts. This is driven by a crucial difference in perception: While white people see police as a force that will protect them, communities of color see a force that is more likely to do the opposite.
Paul Butler, a professor at Georgetown Law and the author of Chokehold: Policing Black Men, told me that one reason unnecessary 911 calls are so dangerous is that they put African Americans in unnecessary interactions with law enforcement.
“When the police are called on African Americans, it has a very negative impact on those black people, even if they are not arrested, or beat up, or killed,” Butler said. “You’re required to justify your existence and your presence in a white space. It makes you feel like less of a citizen and less of a human being. It’s impossible to overstate the adverse consequences.”
…And negative perceptions of African Americans can be fatal, with racial justice advocates pointing to the case of Botham Jean, a black man recently killed in his own apartment after an off-duty police officer claimed to mistake his apartment for her own.