CAREN Act Introduced in San Francisco to Outlaw Racially Motivated Emergency Calls

The proposed bill, of course, takes its name from the widely used nickname "Karen." Recent headlines have seen "Karens" engaging in various acts of racism.


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Shamann Walton, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, has introduced the CAREN Act, which—as its name suggests—is aimed at ensuring punishment for anyone who calls the authorities with weaponized "racist intentions."

"Racist 911 calls are unacceptable," Walton said in a tweet announcing the introduction of this proposed act, which he discussed further during a San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday. tk

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

Per a regional NBC outlet, Walton explained during Tuesday's hearing that the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non=Emergencies (CAREN) Act is designed to result in potential criminal charges against those who make 911 calls that are "racially motivated" and thus do not represent any actual emergency other than the sheer ignorance of the person making the call. 

Both the CAREN Act and state Assemblymember Rob Banta's comparable Assembly Bill 1550, Walton said, should be viewed as being part of the "larger nationwide movement to address racial biases and implement consequences for weaponizing emergency resources with racist intentions."

Today I joined as co-author of @shamannwalton's CAREN Act (Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act).

The CAREN Act makes it unlawful to fabricate false racially biased emergency reports.

Racist false reports put people in danger and waste resources.

— Matt Haney (@MattHaneySF) July 7, 2020

In comments to Forbes, Walton's chief of staff Natalie Gee said the bill would allow someone who was the subject of a racially motivated 911 call to go after "civil remedy" via the court system. The proposed act, which obviously takes its name from the widely used "Karen" nickname for people often seen engaged in such behavior, would also hit perpetrators with fines. 

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