Police Called On Oregon State Representative Canvassing In Her District
Politicking while black?
July 05, 2018 at 3:13 pm
A black Oregon state representative says one of her constituents called the police on her for canvassing a neighborhood.
Rep. Janelle Bynum is seeking reelection and canvassed a Clackamas County neighborhood alone on Tuesday, July 3. A Clackamas Country sheriff's deputy showed up as she typed notes into her cellphone outside of a house she’d visited.
The officer asked her if she was selling anything. Bynum introduced herself and explained why she was in the neighborhood. He confirmed someone called the authorities to complain about Bynum “casing” the area and spending too much time at the houses.
"It was just bizarre," Bynum told OregonLive. "It boils down to people not knowing their neighbors and people having a sense of fear in their neighborhoods, which is kind of my job to help eradicate. But at the end of the day, it's important for people to feel like they can talk to each other to help minimize misunderstandings."
The deputy said another woman made the call but did not specify her race. Bynum asked him to call the woman who was apologetic when they spoke. The woman claimed she called the police for the “safety of the neighborhood” and wouldn’t say where she lived. Bynum hopes she’ll eventually meet the woman in person.
Thankfully, the officer was polite, according to Bynum. The pair took a selfie, and she posted it on her Facebook page.
Bynum is understanding about the woman’s concerns but believes this incident is proof of a serious problem.
"We all know that we're not in a society that is perfect, and we have wounds that still need to heal, but at the end of the day, I want to know my kids can walk down the street without fear," she said.
Despite this ordeal, Bynum will continue to knock on doors.
"I hope everyone gets a good look at my face, because I'm coming to your door," she said.