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San Francisco Lawmaker Introduces CAREN Act To Crack Down On Racially-motivated 911 Calls

Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies, or CAREN Act.
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An ordinance whose time has come.

Source: USA Today

A San Francisco lawmaker introduced an ordinance that would make it illegal to make a fraudulent, racially-motivated 911 call in response to a number of recent incidents in which white people have called the police on Black people who weren't doing anything wrong.

Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies, or CAREN Act, Tuesday, which 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 individuals 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."

The ordinance's name appears to be a reference to the nickname "Karen" given to many white women seen calling the police on people of color in viral videos. Walton noted several of these incidents occurred in the Bay Area, including the videos of white women dubbed "Permit Patty" and "BBQ Becky" last year.

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