San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the “CAREN” Act on Tuesday, an ordinance that would make it illegal to call 9-1-1 because of a person’s race.
Racist 911 calls are unacceptable that’s why I’m introducing the CAREN Act at today’s SF Board of Supervisors meeting. This is the CAREN we need. Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies. #CARENact #sanfrancisco
— Shamann Walton (@shamannwalton) July 7, 2020
The Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies (CAREN) Act would make it “illegal for people to contact law enforcement solely to discriminate on the basis of a person’s race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity,” according to USA Today. Individuals who are victimized by the calls would reportedly be allowed to sue the caller for damages up to $1,000 dollars. (RELATED: Video Shows Police Arresting Black Man For Dancing)
“Fraudulent emergency calls against people of color are a form of racial violence and should not be tolerated,” Walton said during the board of supervisors meeting. The ordinance allegedly gets its name from the growing trend of calling people “Karen” for contacting authorities for very minor or sometimes racist reasons.
“This is the CAREN we need,” said Walton on Twitter.
City officials in San Francisco are introducing the ‘CAREN’ Act to outlaw racially motivated 911 calls.
It stands for “Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies.” pic.twitter.com/YemlHB08ks
— UberFacts (@UberFacts) July 8, 2020
Walton also said during the meeting that California does punish false police reports with up to six months in jail, but does not punish “people who make fraudulent emergency calls based on race.” Assembly member Rob Banta also introduced an ordinance, Assembly Bill 1550, that would create civil liability and a criminal offense for those making biased 9-1-1 calls, per USA Today.
“Both the CAREN Act and AB 1550 are part of a larger nationwide movement to address racial bias and implement consequences for weaponizing emergency resources with racist intentions,” Walton reportedly said at the supervisors meeting.