New law inspired by gay man’s ordeal will make fake, racist 911 calls a criminal offence. It’s called the CAREN Act
Californian lawmakers are aiming to introduce the CAREN Act which would impose criminal charges on people who file false, racially-charged police reports.
The ordinance, which tactically stands for Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies, was sparked by a recent incident in San Fransisco in which a white woman phoned the police on a gay Filipino man for stencilling “Black Lives Matter” with chalk on his own property, FOX16 reported.
With Black Lives Matter protests inspiring people, businesses and authorities to reckon with racial biases, a steady drumbeat of encounters with Karens (no, it is not a slur) have been reported across the US, as citizens use mobile phones footage to expose (largely) white women perceived as entitled or discriminatory.
Karens have been seen in quiet, secluded areas of city parks, in bustling farmers markets and clinging to the barriers of Black Lives Matter protests. All wielded their privilege like a club to compel someone to back down.
The San Francisco ordinance was introduced by San Francisco supervisor Shamann Walton and Matt Haney which makes calls to law enforcement solely to discriminate on the basis of gender, race, sexuality or religion illegal.
Walton tweeted: “Racist 911 calls are unacceptable that’s why I’m introducing the CAREN Act at today’s SF Board of Supervisors meeting.
“This is the CAREN we need. Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies.”
Racist 911 calls are unacceptable that's why I'm introducing the CAREN Act at today’s SF Board of Supervisors meeting. This is the CAREN we need. Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies. #CARENact #sanfrancisco
— Shamann Walton (@shamannwalton) July 7, 2020
‘Karen’ criticised man for stencilling on his own home.
It comes only weeks after James Juanillo was harangued by Lisa Alexander, CEO of cosmetics company LaFace Skincare for stencilling “Black Lives Matter” on the front-retaining wall of his residence.
Footage of the confrontation went viral, showing Alexander approach the home-owner.
A white couple call the police on me, a person of color, for stencilling a #BLM chalk message on my own front retaining wall. “Karen” lies and says she knows that I don’t live in my own house, because she knows the person who lives here. #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/rOpHvKVwgP
— Jaimetoons (@jaimetoons) June 12, 2020
“Respectfully,” Alexander began, according to video footage, “absolutely, your [Black Lives Matter] signs and everything, that’s good, but this is not the way to do it. It’s private property.”
Indeed, it was private property – Juanillo’s property. Having lived there for the last 18 years, he even married his husband in the backyard.
Politely, he did not engage and implored her to call the police. When an officer arrived, he greeted Juanillo as a friend and congratulated him on his artwork, however such incidents do not always end happily.
Reflecting on the exchange, Juanillo said: “You can presume that she knew by calling the police that I could possibly die. She was OK with that.
“Even knowing that I was just working with chalk, she’s willing to call men with guns.”
Hamilton has publicly apologised and acknowledged that her actions were racist.