CAREN Act

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The CAREN Act could make racist 911 calls illegal

Will the CAREN Act stop Karens?

Jul 8, 2020, 9:22 am*

Tech

Bryan Rolli 

Bryan Rolli

Sometimes lawmakers have senses of humor, too.

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Shamann Walton, who sits on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, introduced an act on Tuesday that would make it illegal for anyone to make a false and racially-biased 911 call. The ordinance is called the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act—or the CAREN Act. It would also outlaw false police reports based on someone’s ethnicity, religious affiliations, gender, or sexual orientation, according to Forbes.

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Walton’s new ordinance captures the zeitgeist, drawing inspiration for its name from the many “Karens” who have recently called the cops on people of color for absolutely no reason, and have subsequently been shamed as the footage went viral.

The CAREN Act press release cites Lisa Alexander, who called the cops on a Filipino man for stenciling “Black Lives Matter” on the front wall of his home, and Amy Cooper, who now faces criminal charges for wrongfully calling the cops on a Black man who was bird watching in Central Park. 

“With the rise of smartphones, there has been an increase of racial profiling and discriminatory incidents recorded and shared on social media and subsequently broadcasted on the news nationwide,” the press release reads. “These are only a few examples that have been publicized recently and there are countless others that do not get news coverage or are not recorded.” 

Twitter users applauded the intent of the CAREN Act.

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“OMG OMG OMG OMG They deadass made the CAREN act for Karens calling the cops on POC for no reason!” Tate Coan tweeted. “YALL! DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW HILARIOUS THIS IS? I’m so happy rn.”

Some say the legislation would cut down on white people making false calls to the police.

“The CAREN Act is a well-crafted acronym of anti-racist legislation… More thought went into this than all the ‘Karens’ had, put together,” @cazarespr wrote.

In June, a California lawmaker proposed legislation to make racist 911 calls a hate crime in the state. Both the statewide bill and the CAREN Act have not yet been passed.

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Here’s to hoping the CAREN Act makes Karens think twice before dialing 911 in non-emergencies. 

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*First Published: Jul 8, 2020, 9:16 am