Racist Calls on 911 made punishable Offence

The ugly history of racist policing in America - Vox


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The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to pass the CAREN Act, making it unlawful for people to call 911 with solely the intent to discriminate.

This comes as a response to the uptick in 911 calls made by individuals who call to report innocuous behavior or non-criminal behavior for what appears to be discriminatory reasons. The cited distrust and anxiety in minority communities and strain on law enforcement as the reasons for passing the act. The objective for this amendment was to create a pathway for the people falsely accused to seek redress and to dissuade people from calling 911 unless necessary.

The text of the amendment indicating the reasons for bringing this change explains that the amendment is being brought with the objective of protecting the people of color from deep seated prejudice. This comes in the wake of recent incidents where The African American and lately even persons of the south east asian community have been in the receiving end of unnecessary arrest and detentions merely because they were being suspected of some wrong doing, alleged by a neighbor, while being in a white dominated area . The text of the Act reads:

(a) There have been numerous incidents across the country involving individuals contacting law enforcement to report innocuous behaviors as suspicious, or to falsely report alleged criminal behavior, for what appear to be solely discriminatory reasons. Discriminatory law enforcement reports against people of color for racially motivated reasons are common enough that many people of color have experienced one or more incident of being contacted by law enforcement when engaging in normal day-to-day activities. These incidents cause serious harm to the person falsely accused of a crime, cause anxiety and distrust among people of color, and put an unnecessary strain on law enforcement officers responding to frivolous and false calls.

The Act allows the falsely accused to bring a civil action against the caller. If they win their case they will be entitled to at least $1,000 plus attorney’s fees. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded.


(a) Discriminatory Reports to Law Enforcement Prohibited. It shall be unlawful to knowingly cause a peace officer to arrive at a location to contact a person with the specific intent to discriminate against that person on the basis of the person’s actual or perceived race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (b) Civil Cause of Action. Any aggrieved person may enforce the provisions of this Section 637 by means of a civil action. (c) A person found to have violated subsection (a) in a cause of action under subsection (b) shall be liable to the aggrieved person for special and general damages, but in no case less than $1,000 plus attorneys’ fees and the costs of the action. In addition, punitive damages may be awarded in a proper case. (d) Nothing in this Section 637 shall preclude any person from seeking any other remedies, penalties, or procedures provided by law.

The Act will take effect within 30 days of the mayor signing it into law. Next week the Act will be voted on again before the mayor receives it for approval.

See the amendment