*The former owner of an ice cream shop is the first to be fined under a so-called “Karen” law, after calling the police on Black Lives Matter protesters under false threat allegations in June 2020.
David Elmendorf, who used to run Bumpy’s Polar Freeze in Schenectady, New York, has been ordered to pay nine demonstrators $500 each, totaling $4,500.
Black Lives Matter activists showed up at Bumpy’s to peacefully protest after the owner allegedly sent racist text messages that were circulated on social media. (Watch video of the demonstration above.) Elmendorf reportedly falsely claimed, during a 911 call, that there were “20 armed protesters who were threatening to shoot him” at his store, according to the New York Post.
A bystander recorded this video of a man – later identified by Schenectady police as Elmendorf – climbing out of a pickup near Bumpy’s Polar Freeze with what appeared to be a weapon in his hand. (Sound has been removed.)
New York State Attorney General, Letitia James sued Elmendorf under the new bill, signed into law in June 2020, designed to stop people from making false racially biased reports. “Those who make racist and violent threats will be held accountable by my office with the full weight of the law,” James said in a statement when she announced the lawsuit. “The charges against David Elmendorf should serve as a warning that hate crimes will not be tolerated on my watch and we will not allow any individual to use the color of someone’s skin as a weapon.”
The “CAREN Act,” standing for Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies, was also introduced in July in San Francisco. “This bill could protect millions of Californians from becoming targets of hate and prevent the weaponization of our law enforcement against communities of color,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta in a statement at the time.