San Francisco is trying to crack down on racially motivated 911 calls around the city. Shamann Walton, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, has announced that he is introducing a ‘CAREN’ act.
He writes, “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.”
According to USA Today, the act would make it illegal “to contact law enforcement solely to discriminate on the basis of a person’s race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.” Anyone harmed by the calls could sue for up to $1000.
The ordinance is in response to the many “Karen” videos that have surfaced on social media with white individuals calling the cops on people of color.
In the board of supervisor’s meeting, Walton defends his decision to introduce this act. “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. Fraudulent emergency calls against people of color are a form of racial violence and should not be tolerated.”
As Walton points out, “Let it be known that this has always happened, but with smartphones and social media, we are seeing it recorded and subsequently broadcasted on the news. But, there are countless others that do not get news coverage or do not get reported.”
He lastly adds that the act isn’t designed to discourage people from reporting emergencies, but it will be to protect people of color targeted by these calls.