KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - More and more often videos are popping up of what social media is calling “Karen’s.” These are people who call police reporting crimes based on race. New York’s governor is backing a bill to make it a hate crime to make a false report based on race.
“We want to turn those false 911 calls we’re starting to see every single day into a hate crime because it is actually a hate crime against minorities,” Lakeysha Edwards with Hesitant Heroes said.
Last month a white woman called the police on a black man who asked her to leash her dog in an area of Central Park where leashes are required while he was bird watching.
The latest is a white couple calling police on a person of color creating chalk art on what turned out to be his own property in San Francisco.
“It’s a very dangerous game to play because we know in this country the police and the black community it’s never been a good relationship and we see how things escalate,” Edwards said. “Not to mention it’s a misuse of police resources so while you’re calling the cops on something that didn’t even happen, there’s an actual crime happening somewhere those police resources could go to.”
KCTV5 News wanted to see if there are any laws in our area to stop something like this from happening. We talked to Kansas City police about it and a sergeant in their media relations unit says they have to respond to every call, but if it turns out to be a false report, like a totally made up incident or location, there is a city ordinance to address that.
People who make false calls have been nicknamed Karen.
“Karen is a term for mostly female, Caucasian females who have a different opinion or their own mindset about something and they try to use that as an advantage in the situation and try to call the police on the other party,” Kansas City resident Isidoro Leon said.
That’s why Hesitant Heroes started a change.org petition to make it a federal hate crime to call police based on race and any convicted of a hate crime would have to register as an offender similar to a sex offender registry. More than 50,000 people already signed it.
“A lot of times there’s not a reason for the police but when the police are called, they’re already on guard so they come to the scene ready for whatever,” Kansas City resident Sherri Wilson said.
“I’ve had police ask me what are you doing in this area, hey I live in Kansas City I should be able to go anywhere I want to as long as I’m not causing a problem and bottom line it needs to change,” Kansas City resident Herb Mitchell said.
The next step for Hesitant Heroes is to gather support from legislatures and ultimately make it this a federal law and create a hate crime registry.