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San Francisco launches the CAREN Act to stop racist 911 calls

As we are all very aware, there has been a concerning trend of viral videos depicting entitled, white women placing racially-incited calls to 911. One of the most prominent incidents being the saga of “Central Park Karen”: the NYC woman who informed 911 that “an African American man [was] threatening [her] life,” after bird-watcher Christian Cooper calmly asked if she could put her dog on a leash, as per park rules.

Shamann Walton, and a number of other San Franciscan lawmakers, have been working tirelessly to curb this disgusting trend. Meet the CAREN Act, a.k.a the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act, a new ordinance that will hold anyone who makes false, racially-incited 911 calls accountable for their actions.

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‘BBQBecky’ (left) and ‘PermitPatty’ (right). Photo: Michelle Dione Snider on Facebook; Erin Austin on Facebook

Do you know a Karen? Do you wish that Karens would finally be held accountable? Well, San Franciscan lawmakers have introduced a new act that will fine any caller who makes false, or racially-biased reports to 911.

“Within the last month and a half in the Bay Area, an individual called the police on a Black man who was dancing and exercising on the street in his Alameda neighborhood and a couple called the police on a Filipino man stenciling ‘Black Lives Matter’ in chalk in front of his own residence in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights,” Walton announced in a press release.

Although San Francisco had already criminalised false reporting to emergency services, the CAREN Act will see this protocol extended to false reports based off of race, religion, sexuality, or gender.

“Just last week, a woman dubbed Permit Karen, called the police on her Black neighbours, complaining that she didn’t believe they had a permit to install a paved patio on their own backyard,” Walton continues. “However, this is nothing new, as many ‘Karens’ have gone viral in recent years for similar incidents. In 2018, Alison Ettel called the cops on an eight-year-old child who was selling water on the side of the road without a permit, earning her the title of ‘Permit Patty’.”

Victims of discriminatory 911 calls will also be able to seek compensation through the civil court system, meaning that Karens will finally have to use their “can I speak to the manager?” dollars to pay up.