GR passes expanded human rights ordinance

Grand Rapids
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids City Commission has OK’d an update to the city’s human rights ordinance.

The commission took up the revised ordinance in April, tweaked it after public comment and approved it unanimously Tuesday evening. It goes into effect Dec. 1.

Among other things, it creates a new rule prohibiting biased crime reporting, making it a civil infraction to call 911 on someone purely because of prejudice. Violators could face a $500 fine.

According to a release from the city, Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne said he hopes the rule will deter people from calling police for something that’s not a crime, but also urged people not to hesitate to call if they believe they’ve witnessed a crime.

The ordinance also now covers a broader range of protected categories — about 40 — including but not limited to age, ancestry, religion, criminal record, disability, family makeup and gender identity.

It also increases the number of people on the Grand Rapids Community Relations Commission from nine to 13 and provides further details on that board’s responsibilities.

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