A newly filed bill aims to cut down on “weaponizing” 911 calls that often result in racially charged altercations that have the potential to take an emotional toll on people who have the police called on them.
The “Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies” (CAREN) act, filed by S.C. Rep. J.A. Moore, D-Hanahan, would allow people to bring civil lawsuits against another individual if a 911 call is made “with the intention of causing harm.” The bill’s full text was not immediately available.
“Weaponizing the police to target an innocent bystander should not go unpunished,” Moore said in a press release Wednesday. “Calling law enforcement for a false alarm forces them to waste valuable resources and causes emotional distress for the victim.”
The bill’s name seems to be a reference to a popular internet meme usually depicting an entitled woman who is, as Vox describes, “snobbish, prudish and hypocritical.”
Describing the need for the bill, Moore referenced a highly publicized incident in New York City in which a Black birdwatcher in Central Park had the police called on him after he asked a bystander to put her dog on a leash, per park rules.
The will likely not make any progress this year, with both bodies of the S.C. General Assembly rushing through legislation already passed by the other body before lawmakers adjourn for the year next month.
The bill is also sponsored by Charleston-area Reps. Marvin Pendarvis and Deon Tedder, among others, including Republican state Rep. Josiah Magnuson of Campobello. Two female members of the House are signed on as sponsors: Reps. Rosalyn D. Henderson-Myers, D-Spartanburg, and Leola Robinson, D-Greenville.