San Francisco Passes CAREN Act Making Racially Motivated 911 Calls Illegal

San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the recently proposed CAREN Act, short for Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act, by a unanimous vote. In a press release issued this week, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors said: 

“The CAREN Act will expand the definition of a protected class in San Francisco to prevent false emergency calls with the specific intent to discriminate against a person or otherwise infringe the person’s rights or cause the person specified harms on the basis of the person’s race, color, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, age, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, weight, or height.”

The legislation also provides a pathway for victims of racially or otherwise discriminatorily-motivated 911 calls to seek civil damages. The Board continued, “When law enforcement responds to non-emergency calls as a result of the caller’s prejudice, discriminatory views, and racial bias, it diverts resources away from actual emergencies to the unnecessary policing of people of color,” continuing, “This is another form of racial violence instigated against people of color that causes further mistrust between communities of color and law enforcement.”

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