San Francisco’s CAREN Act One-Step Away From Becoming Law and Holding Karens Accountable for Racist 911 Calls

In 2018, “Permit Patty” threatened to call the police on an 8-year-old Black girl for selling water on a San Francisco sidewalk.
In 2018, “Permit Patty” threatened to call the police on an 8-year-old Black girl for selling water on a San Francisco sidewalk.
Photo: CBS SF

Imagine an America where you can call the authorities on a Karen for calling the authorities on you just for existing while Black. San Francisco, Calif., may very well be on its way to that reality—or at least one where Karens and their Ken counterparts will be held accountable for their racism.


In July, The Root reported that San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act at a Board of Supervisors meeting. The CAREN Act would make it illegal to fabricate false racially-biased emergency reports. Well now, it’s one step closer to being signed into law as the board voted unanimously to advance the proposed legislation on Tuesday.

CBS SF reports that the CAREN act will be voted on again by the Board of Supervisors next Tuesday and if it passes it will be sent to Mayor London Breed to be signed. Ok, so the signing of this bill into law doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to have a nosey, entitled and irrationally fearful white woman arrested for trying to use the police as her personal can of negro-be-gone (I’m just saying, that would be awesome), but it does mean that victims of 911 calls made with the specific intent to target someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, place of birth, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion will have legal recourse to sue the caller.

“We want to make sure people don’t continue to weaponize emergency calls to law enforcement,” Walton said during the meeting, CBS reports. “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. Rather than calling the police or law enforcement on your neighbor or someone who you think doesn’t look like they should be your neighbor, try talking to them and getting to know them. Let’s build relationships in our communities.”

CBS interviewed San Francisco residents who were voting early at the Civic Center and many of them expressed support for the measure.

From CBS:

“Because they are using their white privilege to create trouble for someone else that isn’t based in reality,” said Nicole Didondiff.

“People with privilege like myself use that to our advantage sometimes and a lot of that uncertainity that comes from not knowing people of color allows us the space to make those accusations safely – and it’s gonna take a hard check to get some of that righted,” said Jason Powers. “So I think it’s an interesting and potentially game changing measure.”


According to CNN, there are some who are critical of the measure. Who would oppose such a common sense and long-overdue approach to dealing with the racial profiling of citizens with trigger-happy 911 fingers? Well the Karens, of course.

From CNN:

“The name of the act places a target on my name as a racist and I am not,” one resident wrote in a letter to the board. “By associating the name ‘Caren’ or anyone elses name with such a law, really is offensive.”

“I do not have objection to this act; the issue it is trying to address is wrong,” wrote another resident. “ I do strongly object to the the name. The insensitive choice of many people to use the name Karen as a general purpose term of disapproval for middle age white women needs to stop.”


For the record: White people taking legislation meant to curb discrimination against people of color and making it about themselves and how they could potentially be harmed is definitely some A-1 Karen shit.

Hopefully, the CAREN Act will pass in San Francisco and invite more legislation like it to be considered all over the nation.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons



*considers holding breath until someone is actually -charged- with this because isn’t making a false 911 already illegal and no one was charged with that? decides against it*