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The city of Iowa City put out a press release on Thursday “reminding” its community that “race-based calls hurt us all.”

The city wrote that calling 911 “based solely on a person’s skin color and personal biases is racist, hurtful and damaging to the community.”

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Race-based calls, the city wrote, happen when someone calls 911 for “racially-motivated reasons, not because a crime has taken place.”

“They occur when a person of color is engaging in normal, daily activities such as relaxing at a park or walking on the sidewalk. Feedback from Iowa City City Council listening posts showed these calls are of great concern to community members. The City condemns race-based 911 calls and encourages the entire community to do the same,” the release said.

The calls are “damaging on multiple levels,” the city added.

“The individual who was reported has their life disrupted, causing feelings of anxiety, shame or discomfort. These interactions can foster unnecessary distrust between community members and the police officers required to respond to all 911 calls, regardless of whether any illegal behavior is reported.”

Iowa City also said race-based 911 calls are illegal.

“No one should live in fear that simply being seen in public is enough to warrant 911 being called,” said Iowa City mayor Bruce Teague. “I’m asking all members of our community to respect each other. Let others go about their lives in peace and save 911 for emergencies.”

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