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Put Those Who Make False Accusations Based on Race on National Hate-Crime Registry, Activists Say

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Some activists in Los Angeles have started a petition to try and get lawmakers to make it a hate crime to falsely accuse somebody of a crime based on their race.

They also want people convicted of hate crimes to be placed on a national database.

A similar law has been introduced in New York and Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he supports expanding hate crime laws in that state. But LA activists want news laws to be put in place nationwide.

A notorious cell phone video of a white woman in Central Park calling 911 to falsely claim she was being threatened by an African American man is partly what inspired a group of LA activists to start a change.org petition, urging lawmakers to make it a hate crime to make false accusations based on race.

"It really came from a place of frustration," said LaKeysha Edwards, an LA activist.

Edwards, who attended Sunday's protest in Hollywood, got together with two friends, Donald George and Hess Wesley, to create the petition. She says it's clear to her, Amy Cooper, the woman seen in the Central Park video, was trying to weaponize the police against a black man.

"She knew she was in a position," Edwards said. "She had privilege, if you will, because of who she was. She could say those three words 'African American man' and that would trigger something that's always triggered something in this country."

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Edwards also cites this video of Brandon McCormick, a white man in Salt Lake City who pointed a bow and arrow and knife at protesters while yelling "all lives matter!"

Protesters took away his weapons and set his car on fire as police pulled him to safety. He later claimed that two African American men assaulted him while he was still in his car and he was defending himself, a claim that video doesn't appear to support.

McCormick was charged with felony weapon and assault charges, but not a hate crime.

"Again, it goes back to a feeling of privilege - like you think you can come here with a weapon, with intent to cause harm or intimidate someone, and you felt like nothing would happen to you.. You felt bold enough to make that move," Edwards said.

The LA activists also want lawmakers to create a federal database of those convicted of felony hate crime charges, similar to the public registry the U.S. now has for sex offenders.

Edwards says she's encouraged that Democrats have introduced a police reform bill, but she worries they're just trying to pacify protesters in the short term. She says unless real change is made - demonstrations will continue.

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