The “CAREN Act” would impose fines on anyone who makes false and racially biased emergency calls in the city.A San Francisco lawmaker has introduced an ordinance to stop racist 911 calls.
On Tuesday, San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the “CAREN Act,” inspired by the countless viral stories of white women calling the police on innocent Black people. The ordinance’s name is a reference to “Karen,” which has become a descriptor for entitled and racist white women.
“Racist 911 calls are unacceptable that’s why I’m introducing the CAREN Act at today’s SF Board of Supervisors meeting,” Walton wrote on his Twitter account. “This is the CAREN we need. Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies.”
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
According to USA Today, the ordinance will “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.” The ordinance will also allow those harmed by these calls to sue for damages up to $1,000.
“911 calls and emergency reports are not customer service lines for racist behavior, and using these for fraudulent reports based on the perceived threats of someone’s race takes away emergency resources from actual emergencies,” Walton said at a board of supervisors meeting. “Fraudulent emergency calls against people of color are a form of racial violence and should not be tolerated.”
In related news, Amy Cooper, the white woman who called 911 on Christian Cooper (no relation), a Black man, after he told her to leash her dog back in May, was recently charged with filing a false report. If Cooper is convicted, she could receive a conditional discharge or be sentenced to community service or counseling rather than jail time. She is scheduled to be arraigned on October 14.