The “Karens.” San Francisco solon seeks to make bogus “911” calls illegal

“911” calls which are made with the intent of harming and whose objective is harassment would be made illegal under an Ordinance being proposed by a San Francisco legislator.

Many “911” calls are valid.

Some “911” calls are unnecessary.  Unnecessary “911” calls cause undue harm and stress for the target of these harassing summons to the cops.

This Ordinance would discourage such abuse by penalizing the offender.

Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 7.10.2020

Lisa Alexander, the woman who stirred outrage and contempt after she confronted a man for stenciling “Black Lives Matter” in chalk outside his Pacific Heights home last month, wrote to San Francisco city officials Friday lamenting being linked to Supervisor Shamann Walton’s Caren Act, legislation he introduced this week that would make discriminatory 911 calls illegal.

Such events have given rise to the “Karen” moniker, a slang title for entitled white women complaining about people of color, usually to the police.

Karen moniker II 7.10.2020.jpg

Walton’s legislation is a wry nod to the term, but the “Caren” in his legislation stands for Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies. The legislation would amend the San Francisco Police Code to make it unlawful for someone to “fabricate false racially biased emergency reports,” according to Walton.

In a letter sent to Mayor London Breed and the entire Board of Supervisors that was reviewed by The Chronicle, Alexander complains that she has become an emblem for precisely the kind of incident the Caren Act is intended to deter — largely because she claims she did not call 911 to report James Juanillo’s alleged vandalism.

“I agree with Supervisor Walton’s position that people should not make unfounded or racially motivated 911 calls or reports that divert police resources from real emergencies. However, I never called 911,”

That appears to be technically true: According to Walton, who reviewed the call, her husband did. “He was the main speaker. She had plenty to say in the background,” Walton said. A spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department confirmed police were called to Juanillo’s home, but that there “was no merit” to claims of a crime taking place.

“We did not call 911. There is a big difference,” Alexander told The Chronicle in an email. “We called the nonemergency, local precinct SFPD number we have been given for local neighborhood issues, we never considered this an emergency situation at all.”

Alexander’s encounter with Juanillo reached a national audience after the video Juanillo captured of the incident ricocheted across the internet. It has been viewed 23.5 million times on Juanillo’s Twitter page alone.

It shows Alexander and her husband, Robert Larkin, approaching Juanillo as he finishes stenciling “Black Lives Matter” on the retaining wall outside his home. Alexander and Larkin insist that Juanillo, who is Filipino, does not own the home and was therefore vandalizing it. Juanillo refuses to answer their questions and invites them to call the police. The video ends as Alexander and Larkin walk away.

Both Alexander and Larkin have apologized publicly for their response to Juanillo and pledged to use it as an opportunity to learn about racism. Larkin was subsequently fired from his job at the Raymond James financial services firm. Alexander’s skin care company, LaFace, was removed from the beauty subscription service Birchbox because of the encounter.

The episode echos a string of similar, widely seen confrontations captured on cell phone videos in which white people accuse or accost Black people and other persons of color without provocation. The subtext of the incident with Juanillo, as with many similar encounters, is often that a person of color is reflexively deemed by a white person to be somehow out of place — even in a place they’ve lived for years, as Juanillo has.