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CAREN Act: San Francisco ordinance would make racially-biased 911 calls illegal

CAREN Act: San Francisco ordinance would make racially-biased 911 calls illegal
Posted at 2:08 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 17:40:08-04

A San Francisco lawmaker has introduced an ordinance that would make it illegal to make a racially-biased 911 call within the city limits.

According to KPIX-TV in San Francisco and The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco City Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the "Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies (CAREN) Act" on Tuesday.

The CAREN acronym is a play on the name "Karen" — the name social media users often label those who make racially-based 911 calls in viral videos.

In a statement to NBC, Walton said that the act would "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 is similar to a bill currently making its way through the California State Assembly. That bill, AB 1550, was introduced by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland).

"Using 911 as a tool for your prejudice towards marginalized communities is unjust and wrong!" Bonta tweeted earlier this week.

In June, a man's recording of a white couple calling the police on him for chalking the words "Black Lives Matter" on his rented home went viral. The couple later issued an apology.

In May, a white woman called police on a Black man who was birdwatching in Central Park after he asked that she put a leash on her dog. That woman was charged with false reporting earlier this week.