What Is The Karen Law?
- Marvin Harvey
Are you the type of gal who demands to speak to the manager when you feel you’ve been wronged? You just might be a “Karen.” Sure, there’s a growing list of internet memes poking fun at real-life stereotypes — names such as Kyle, Becky and Chad are shorthand for this or that trope — but in 2020, “Karen” is the queen of them all.
The K-name has been co-opted to call out many a “white-lady-with-a-bone-to-pick” socio-cultural faux pas online. Think, . . calling the police to shut down a kids’ lemonade stand — because they don’t have a permit — spurring slangy put-downs like, “Calm down, Karen.” The most infamous “Karen” of late is Amy Cooper, a white woman who called the police on black birder Christian Cooper when the two ended up at odds in the Ramble at Central Park while she was walking her dog.
She “pulled the pin on the race grenade,” according to Christian Cooper. When Mr. Cooper asked her to leash her dog, “Karen” promptly told authorities an “African American man is threatening my life,” while appearing to accidentally strangle her dog. The viral clip was taken only a day before disturbing footage of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police was released, sparking civil unrest and global protests over racial justice.
- Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NY’s Central Park, where it is clearly posted on signs that dogs MUST be leashed at all times, and someone like my brother (an avid birder) politely asks her to put her dog on the leash.
- Pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm — Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020 After the video racked up millions of views, “Dog Park Karen” was fired from her investment firm job, temporarily forced to surrender her dog and charged with one count of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.
The viral clip also spawned new hate crime legislation. She could face up to a year in prison — but the Karen-ing shame doesn’t end there. San Francisco politician Shamann Walton has introduced the CAREN Act — it stands for Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act — to make it illegal to falsely report crimes in a “racially biased” manner.
Anti-Karen law? Berkeley ordinance would outlaw racially biased 911 calls Berkeley could make discriminatory and racially biased 911 calls illegal in a new ordinance being considered by the City Council. The ordinance, which is on the next Tuesday, was authored by Councilmember Kate Harrison and it would expand the current municipal code outlawing false reports to the police to specifically ban reports based solely on discriminatory reasons.
The ordinance would also allow people to pursue civil action, such as seeking damages. Discriminatory calls are defined as those based on one’s ethnicity, race, nationality, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, place of birth or creed, according to the proposal. The ordinance is modeled after, which stands for Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies.
The name “Karen” has been used to refer to white women who’ve been caught on video exhibiting bias against people of color and making discriminatory calls to the police. “Such incidents cause serious harm to the person falsely accused of a crime, contribute to defamation, cause anxiety and distrust among people of color and other people, and put an unnecessary strain on law enforcement officers responding to frivolous and false calls,” according to the ordinance.
- In her proposal, Harrison cited discriminatory calls outlined in Berkeley Police Review Commission’s 2017 “To Achieve Fairness and Impartiality: Report and Recommendations” report.
- In one example, a mixed-race family was having pizza at Bobby G’s Pizzeria on University Avenue when another diner reported that the couple was “abusing their children by drinking beer and wine in front of their child.” Police arrived, and after the owner of the restaurant told them that the family were “minding their own business watching a football game,” officers questioned the Black father for an hour.
Harrison referred to another example in which a Black security guard in uniform was carrying a licensed gun and speaking with a white woman at the corner of Allston Way and Bonar after a Berkeley Youth Assn. ceremony. A white man started videotaping them and after the security guard told him to stop, the man said it was his right and told him: “Don’t bring a gun into my neighborhood.” The white man then called the police, who arrived and verified the credentials of the security guard.
- One of the officers stayed and continued to ask the security guard questions.
- The Black man said he felt he was being “badgered” and “unduly questioned.” In May 2020, a white woman, called the police in New York City’s Central Park to report that she was being threatened by “an African American man,” Christian Cooper, who was bird watching in the park.
The video was posted on Twitter. Months later, Amy Cooper with filing a false police report. The charges were dropped after she finished an educational course. : Anti-Karen law? Berkeley ordinance would outlaw racially biased 911 calls
What is a “Karen”?
We recently received a question from one Mr. Davis of San Francisco, who wrote in asking about a new local ordinance with a catchy name. “I have read a lot about, and unfortunately seen, way too many ‘Karens.’ Now I see that San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton has introduced an ordinance that is being called the ‘CAREN’ Act.
What is this?” “Karen,” of course, is a generic name given to people, usually middle-aged, middle class white women, who act like they can get whatever they want. A “Karen” is one who throws a tantrum at a Starbucks. Who asks to speak to the manager over the slightest inconvenience. More recently, it has come to refer to someone who feels it necessary to call the police to make false or inaccurate claims about minorities with racially or discriminatory motives.
The 2020 George Floyd Protests have brought forth a wave of ” Karens ” — who have been filmed engaging in racist and sometimes violent behavior against minorities. Recently, a “Karen” in San Francisco, went viral for dialing 911 on a local Filipino resident who was stenciling Black Lives Matter in chalk on his own property.
Another “Karen” was videoed telling a family that they could not be in the country because they were hiking on Mt. Tamalpais with their dog. Currently, there is immunity from civil defamation lawsuits for reporting a crime. It has been held that someone who makes a statement to the police about a suspected crime is protected by qualified privilege; he or she is discharging their social duty to help in the detection of criminal activity.
A police officer receiving the report has an interest in receiving the information because they can investigate. Although giving a false police report is criminal under California law, there is no punishment for people who call the police due to a perceived threat, based solely on one’s race, ethnicity, or religious affiliation.
This is where the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act comes into play. The CAREN Act would amend the San Francisco Police Code, making it unlawful to fabricate or make false emergency reports that are racially biased. For example, claiming a Black man is threatening you, simply because he asked that you put your dog on a leash, or calling the police because a Black man was dancing and exercising on his street, so as not to block the sidewalk, could be prosecuted, both civilly and criminally.
This proposed new law aims to protect the rights of minorities who are often targeted by and victims of fraudulent emergency calls. The CAREN Act would make it unlawful for an individual to contact the police solely to discriminate on the basis of a person’s race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
- This proposed ordinance follows similar proposed state legislation that would seek to end discriminatory police calls by classifying them as hate crimes.
- Those found in violation of the state and/or local laws could be held accountable through monetary fines.
- In addition, under the proposed state bill, a victim of a discriminatory call could sue the caller for up to $10,000 in damages.
According to the author of the state bill, California State Assemblymember Rob Bonta of Oakland, his proposal does not seek to discourage people from calling 911 to report real emergencies. However, “racist and discriminatory 911 calls are dangerous, demeaning, and demoralizing to the person falsely accused.
- They further deteriorate community-police relations and contribute to the inaccurate and harmful over-criminalization of Black and brown communities,” Bonta said in a statement.
- If you are afraid of a Black family barbecuing in the community park, a man dancing and doing his normal exercise routine in the bike lane, or someone who asks you to comply with dog leash laws in a park, and your immediate response is to call the police, the real problem is with your own personal prejudice.” Christopher B.
Dolan is owner of the Dolan Law Firm. Jeremy M. Jessup is a Senior Trial Attorney in our San Francisco office. Email questions and topics for future articles to: [email protected] We serve clients across the San Francisco Bay Area and California from our offices in San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles.
What is’Karen’s law’and why is it needed?
It’s been nearly 25 years since Widdoss survived a brutal rape and attempted murder when she was just 16-years-old. Now, she’s urging lawmakers to pass ‘ Karen ‘s Law ‘, which limits the parole re-application process for sexually violent predators like her own.
Did Shamann Walton introduce the Caren act inspired by the Karen meme?
Within the last two years, the “Karen” meme has circulated widely throughout the internet, making its way into California’s State Capitol. – Within the last two years, the “Karen” meme has circulated widely throughout the internet. This meme originated from the various examples of middle-aged white women typically sporting pixie cuts, throwing tantrums in public.
The “Karen” label applies to various entitled behaviors that range from asking to speak to the manager, refusing to wear a mask and extreme displays of exerting white privilege. Videos featuring white women unjustifiably calling the police on individuals of color have gone viral across social media platforms.
One notable video coined the name “Barbecue Becky,” a variation of the Karen meme. With almost ten million views on YouTube, the video showcases “Becky” racially targeting a black family for having a barbecue at a lake and accusing them of engaging in illegal behavior.
Unfortunately, children are also not exempt from the wrath of Karens. Another white woman, “Permit Patty,” called the police on an eight-year-old black girl who was selling water outside her apartment complex to raise money for a trip to Disneyland. “Patty” claimed that the child was selling bottled water without a permit and proceeded to report her to the police.
This video recently reached over twenty million views on YouTube and is just one of the many absurd cases of “Karens” abusing emergency resources for their agenda. These incidents have prompted San Francisco politician Shamann Walton to introduce the CAREN Act, inspired by the infamous “Karen” meme, at a San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting.
The CAREN Act stands for Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies, and it works to criminalize racially motivated emergency calls. Though filing a fraudulent police report is illegal in California, there are no consequences for people who make racially biased emergency calls under existing laws.
This ordinance, however, will penalize those who are found to exploit community resources to perpetuate their hate and bigotry. This legislation shares similarities to AB 1550 proposed by Assemblymember Rob Bonta from Oakland, California. This statewide bill labels discriminatory 911 calls as hate crimes and dissuades people from weaponizing law enforcement for racially motivated purposes.
- In his online press release, Assemblymember Bonta stated that the amendments to AB 1550 will provide a civil remedy to victims of these calls and will establish civil liability for the perpetrators.
- Anyone who makes a discriminatory non-emergency call is subject to a misdemeanor and up to a year in prison and/or a $1,000 fine if convicted.
Bonta also reassured his constituents that the goal of this bill is not to discourage utilizing 911 when in danger but to prevent the “further community-police relations and to the inaccurate and harmful over-criminalization of black and brown communities.” The act would protect millions of Californians from being subject to demoralizing, demeaning, and unnecessary scrutiny by law enforcement and by the public.
- Altogether, it would lessen the number of viral “Karen” videos appearing online.
- Across the rest of the United States, other states are considering adopting similar bills, with New York, Oregon, and Washington being three of the strongest supporters for the CAREN Act.
- AB 1550 is currently working its way through the Senate Committee on Public Safety, awaiting a second reading after being amended in June 2020.
The amended AB 1550 is available to read for more information. Update (1/22): AB 1550 has yet to move past the Senate Committee on Public Safety after its re-referral in July 2020. New York and Washington, however, have made progress signing respective laws that outlaw the use of emergency services to report nonemergencies and target protected classes.
What is’Karen’s law’for sex offenders?
Now, she’s urging lawmakers to pass ‘ Karen ‘s Law ‘, which limits the parole re-application process for sexually violent predators like her own. ‘After completing their minimum sentence. inmates can actually request a parole hearing every single year, regardless of what the parole board orders.