A Hartford man faces charges after he called 911 and reported a fake drowning, according to Hartford police.
Hartford police said 34-year-old Jeremiah Grant called 911 to report at drowning child at the Willie Ware Center on Windsor Street Monday. When emergency crews responded, they discovered that there was no child in danger.
According to police, a witness said Grant had been complaining to her that the police did not care about the “poor black community” and dialed 911 to prove his point.
That witness, who asked not to be identified, spoke with NBC Connecticut.
“When he came over be said he called 911 and he wanted to see if the cruiser will show up because he wanted to test to see if they’ll respond to a Black poverty community like this. So he told them a child was drowning," she said.
Grant was arrested and charged with falsely reporting an incident, interfering with police, and breach of peace.
Police said they are familiar with Grant, and that this isn't the first time he's made a false 911 call.
“He was arrested 5 week’s ago for falsely reporting an incident that armed men were outside his house trying to burglarize it. You can imagine that type of response," said Lt. Paul Cicero.
The false drowning report struck a nerve. On July Fourth, 16-year-old Jaevon Whyte drowned in a pool at Keney Park in Hartford. His friends called 911, frantic for help trying to find their missing friend, only to learn he had drowned.
“Folks are still grappling with the trauma of what happened to That young man in Keney Park, for a grown man to call like that is unsettling," said Andrew Woods, executive director of Hartford Communities That Care.
Community leaders in Hartford who work to mentor the city’s youth, keep the community safe, stop the violence and maintain good relations with police said the racial overtones of the incident hinder their efforts.
"What one individual does or feels doesn’t reflect what law enforcement of an individual does. If people wanna take it to that level with racial undertones that’s on the person. But what happens on a daily basis people can discern what’s racial or not racial," Woods added.
Grant was held on a $30,000 bond.