San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has approved the ban of false, racially biased calls to 911, KPIX-TV reported.
The CAREN Act — Caution Against Racial and Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act — was unanimously passed Tuesday by all 11 supervisors, the station said.
The term “Karen” has become mockingly synonymous with women — usually white women — who confront others without provocation over small issues and sometimes call 911 so police can step in and stop it. Sometimes a “Karen” adds race to the mix when contacting authorities.
“We want to make sure people don’t continue to weaponize emergency calls to law enforcement,” Supervisor Shamann Walton, who authored the measure, told KPIX. Walton began pushing the legislation in July.
What are the details?
Under the CAREN Act, calls to 911 that discriminate over someone’s race, ethnicity, national origin, place of birth, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion is banned — and targets of such calls will be allowed to sue the caller, the station said.
“Communities of color have the right to go about daily activities without being threatened by someone calling 911 on them due to someone’s racism,” Walton added, according to KPIX. “Rather than calling the police or law enforcement on your neighbor or someone who you think doesn’t look like they should be your neighbor, try talking to them and getting to know them. Let’s build relationships in our communities.”
The station spoke to early voters who supported the measure.
Nicole Didondiff told KPIX the CAREN is needed to combat 911 callers who “are using their white privilege to create trouble for someone else that isn’t based in reality.”
Jason Powers told the station that “people with privilege like myself use that to our advantage sometimes and a lot of that uncertainty that comes from not knowing people of color allows us the space to make those accusations safely — and it’s gonna take a hard check to get some of that righted. So I think it’s an interesting and potentially game changing measure.”
The board will vote on the CAREN Act again at next Tuesday’s meeting before it heads to Mayor London Breed’s desk, KPIX reported.