According to reports, San Francisco lawmaker Shamann Walton has proposed the CAREN Act, otherwise known as the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act, to make false, racist 911 calls illegal.
The bill is an obvious reference to the “Karens,” the term used to describe white women who target people of color, primarily Black people, with racists acts of verbal aggression and weaponization of the police. The CAREN Act will make it unlawful for an individual 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 proposed legislation was drafted in conjunction with California State Assemblyman Rob Bonta who said:
“If you are afraid of a Black family barbecuing in the community park, a man dancing and doing his normal exercise routine in the bike lane, or someone who asks you to comply with dog leash laws in a park, and your immediate response is to call the police, the real problem is with your own personal prejudice.”
Under the new act, false 911 calls made under a racist pretext will be classified as a hate crime and could result in a $10,000 fine but would be liable for no less than $1,000.