San Francisco supervisor introduces 'CAREN' Act to outlaw racially motivated 911 calls

Wednesday, July 8, 2020
SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton on Tuesday introduced an ordinance to outlaw racially motivated 911 calls.

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The Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies, or CAREN, Act could possibly result in people who call law enforcement based on racial bias facing criminal charges.

The ordinance is similar to state Assemblymember Rob Banta's (D-Oakland) Assembly Bill 1550, which also calls for consequences for those who call 911 based on biases toward race, class, outward appearance and religion.

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During the Board of Supervisors meeting Walton said both measures "are part of a larger nationwide movement to address racial biases and implement consequences for weaponizing emergency resources with racist intentions."

The name Karen has become synonymous on social media with people who call 911 with racist intentions, as several high-profile incidents captured on cellphone video, including some in the Bay Area, have shown people threatening to call police because of racial biases.

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