Police Called On A Black Oregon State Representative While She Was Canvassing Neighborhood

Police Car
grandriver / iStock

While canvassing a neighborhood to campaign for the upcoming fall elections, Rep. Janell Bynum states that someone in the neighborhood called the police on her, according to CNN. Bynum, who represents District 51, wrote on her Facebook page that a woman in the neighborhood called the police because she was suspicious of Bynum since she seemed to be “spending a lot of time typing on [her] cell phone after each house.” But Bynum says that the time she using her cell phone after each house is her taking notes and “keeping account of what [her] community cares about.”

Bynum, a Democrat running for re-election, says that Officer Campbell of Clackamas County handled the situation professionally. While she asked if she could speak face to face with the 911 caller, Bynum was told that the woman was “not available.” Though she did not meet with the woman face to face, Officer Campbell did call the woman and let Bynum speak to her. During their conversation, Bynum says the woman apologized for calling 911.

The call comes after a seeming increase of incidents in which the police are called on people of color while they are carrying out regular activities. A 12-year-old Ohio boy had the police called on him last week when he accidentally mowed the wrong yard. Last month a woman in San Francisco called the police on an 8-year-old who was selling water outside of her apartment building. The 911 caller, now dubbed “Permit Patty” initially said she only pretended to call the police, according to The Huffington Post. “Permit Patty,” whose real name is Allison Ettel, resigned from her role as CEO for TreatWell Health. In April, a woman called the police on black people who were using a charcoal grill at a park in an area where it was supposedly “banned.” After the video circulated across the internet, the 911 caller, whose name is Jennifer Schulte, was dubbed “BBQ Becky.”

Other recent incidences of police being called include on a teen while at a community pool, a Yale graduate student who napped in her dorm building lounge, and a pair of real estate agents who were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks while waiting for their client.

Many people see these incidents as evidence that racism still exists. According to a poll by NBC News, 64 percent of people surveyed felt that racism is still a “major problem in our society.” The poll also found that 45 percent of people believe that “race relations in [America] are getting worse,” while 41 percent believe that there’s not enough attention paid to racial issues.