SF supervisors pass 'CAREN' Act outlawing racist 911 calls

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San Francisco supervisors have unanimously approved a first reading of new legislation aimed at discouraging racist 911 calls that many believe expose people of color to dangerous run-ins with police officers.

Supporters said people need to think twice before calling 911 on someone who is barbecuing, bird watching, jogging or stenciling "Black Lives Matter" in front of their own home, one of many incidents that have happened in the Bay Area. The legislation is called the Caution Against Racial and Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act, also known as the "CAREN" legislation.

The legislation will receive a second reading next week.

The name is a nod to a widespread meme using the name "Karen" to describe a specific type of middle-aged white woman exhibiting behavior stemming from a life of privilege.

Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the CAREN Act in July, saying both this legislation and a similar state-level proposal "are part of a larger nationwide movement to address racial biases and implement consequences for weaponizing emergency resources with racist intentions."

Some have said they support the legislation, but think the name is sexist.

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