The CAREN Act is Real—And it’s Coming for Racist 911 Callers

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Three inspirations for the CAREN Act.

Update (Oct. 21, 2020): The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the CAREN Act on Tuesday Oct. 20. The legislation must pass a second vote next week, before it can be enacted.

This afternoon, San Francisco District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the CAREN Act in an effort to tackle racially motivated 911 calls.

The Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act, or CAREN Act (no, really), would amend the San Francisco Police Code to make it “unlawful for an individual to fabricate false, racially-biased emergency reports.” It’s a joint effort with California Assembly member Rob Bonta—an Oakland resident—who is working to introduce a bill that would make unjustifiable, racist calls to police a punishable offense statewide.

District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney was quick to sign on as a co-author of the CAREN Act.

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In recent months, “Karen” has been adopted as handy shorthand to refer to racist white women who needlessly call the police on innocent bystanders. (No word yet on whether we can expect a KEVIN Act any time soon, but we’ll keep you posted.)