State Representative JA Moore (D-Berkeley) has filed a bill that would allow a person to bring civil action against an individual who uses a 911 call to intentionally inflict harm on that person.
H.6069, known as the “Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies (CAREN) Act” would directly address people who call the police in a non-emergency situation on someone with the intention of causing harm. These situations are often racially charged.
“Weaponizing the police to target an innocent bystander should not go unpunished,” Rep. Moore said. “Calling law enforcement for a false alarm forces them to waste valuable resources and causes emotional distress for the victim.”
In May of 2020, a Black birdwatcher in New York City’s Central Park was verbally attacked by a white woman after he asked for her dog to be put on a leash. She called the police on him after an argument broke out. Cell phone footage of the incident went viral online and sparked a fierce backlash. Moore’s legislation aims to combat these types of incidents by allowing the victim to pursue civil action against the assailant.
The bipartisan legislation has been co-sponsored by Representatives Bamberg (D-Bamberg), Henderson-Myers (D-Spartanburg), King (D-York), Magnuson (R-Spartanburg), McDaniel (D-Fairfield), McKnight (D-Williamsburg), Rose (D-Richland), Pendarvis (D-Charleston), Robinson (D-Greenville) and Tedder (D-Charleston).