New Jersey had made it a crime to call 911 to intimidate or harass people of color.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law making it a crime to call 911 to intimidate someone because of their ethnicity, religion, or gender, among other categories.
Violators face up to five years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
The bill amends existing law to include false incrimination and filing a false police report as a form of bias intimidation.
So filing a fake police report to intimidate someone based on their race will put you in prison.
Murphy said in a statement:
"Using the threat of a 911 call or police report as an intimidation tactic against people of color is unacceptable."
"This misuse of our 911 system places victims in possible danger. And it erodes trust between Black and Brown New Jerseyans and law enforcement."
"Individuals who choose to weaponize this form of intimidation should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said false 911 calls interfere with police operations.
They also put law enforcement officers at risk, Grewal added.
"Over the past two years, we've worked hard to build and strengthen trust between communities and law enforcement."
"So, this law will help us further racial justice while keeping our residents safe."
"Not only is false 911 call a form of intimidation…it also interferes with 911 emergency operators trying to save lives. It puts law enforcement at risk."
Other officials have also said false 911 calls risk escalating the situations.
New Jersey State Senator, Troy Singleton, said:
"As our country finds itself in the grips of racial and social unrest. [Anyone] who seek to weaponize and enflame these tensions should be held accountable."
New York and California have passed similar laws. These laws will make it a hate crime to call cops to harass someone based on their race.
The new laws come a few months after a white woman was filmed in Central Park, calling cops on a Black man who had asked her to put her dog on a leash.
An onlooker filmed the interaction, which went viral on social media. It garnered more than 40 million views on Twitter.
In the viral video, the man asked the white woman to put her dog on a leash.
She then calls 911 and appears to become more frantic, though the man stood several meters away.
Speaking to the 911 operator, she says:
"Tell them there's an African American man threatening my life."
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance then charged her with filing a false police report.
The woman later apologized for her 'false assumptions.'