California should prosecute Karens who call 911 on Black people

California should prosecute Karens who call 911 on Black people

If there’s one thing I can count on as a Californian, it’s that every time there’s an injustice in society — especially if it stays in the news for more than a week — some lawmaker in Sacramento will propose a bill to try to fix it. It’s the kind of thing that used to drive former Gov. Jerry Brown nuts. “Not every human problem deserves a law,” he once wrote in a veto message. In other words, stop clogging the government code with new laws that address problems already covered by existing laws. In some ways, one could make that argument about a new bill from Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda). His AB 1550 would, in essence, create new ways to punish (mostly white) people who call 911 on (mostly Black) people for doing innocuous, everyday activities. “We must not allow people to use our 911 and law enforcement systems as weapons for hate,” he told The Times. (To be clear, there are already laws on the books for this. They just aren’t being used. But I’ll come back to that.) “If you are afraid of a Black family barbecuing in the community park,” Bonta continued, “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.” We’re looking at you, BBQ Becky, Permit Patty, Golfcart ...
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