Supervisors in San Francisco unanimously voted on Tuesday to pass the Caution Against Racially and Exploitative Non-Emergencies (CAREN) Act, which would outlaw racially motivated 911 calls.
“The name is a clear nod to the online moniker ‘Karen’ often used to describe the behavior of a middle-aged white woman acting entitled or demanding,” ABC 7 reported.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Shamann Walton introduced the legislation in July, saying it was “in response to the rising incidence of people harassing and calling 911 on black people and people of color doing daily activities all over the country.”
The CAREN Act will make it illegal for people to contact law enforcement solely to discriminate on the basis of a person’s race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity, and other protected classes, and allow individuals harmed by fraudulent emergency calls based on their race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity to pursue civil remedies through civil court and hold the person making the call accountable for their behavior.
“Under the CAREN Act, individuals who make fraudulent 911 calls can be sued by those who were harmed for damages for up to $1,000,” he explained at the time.
This week at the Civic Center, some early voters said they agreed with the measure, CBS SF BayArea reported.
“[T]hey are using their white privilege to create trouble for someone else that isn’t based in reality,” Nicole Didondiff told the outlet.
However, the term “Karen” is considered racist in certain contexts, according to Breitbart News.
“The Urban Dictionary defines ‘Karen’ as ‘[t]he stereotypical name associated with rude, obnoxious and insufferable middle aged white women,'” the report stated.
Following the vote on Tuesday, Walton said city leaders “want to make sure people don’t continue to weaponize emergency calls to law enforcement.”
“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,” he told CBS.
Supervisors will vote on the act again during next week’s meeting before it goes to Mayor London Breed’s desk, according to the outlet.