Whether it’s cutting grass, selling water, moving out of an AirBnB, or going to Starbucks, there’s apparently nothing that a black person can do without having the cops called. A black state legislature recently joined the list of those who have been profiled after someone called 911 on her for looking “suspicious” while she was out campaigning door-to-door in Calckamas, Ore.
State Rep. Janelle Bynum (D), who is running for a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, recounted the incident on Facebook Tuesday (July 3) along with a message thanking the officer involved for being “professional” about the situation.
“Live from the mean streets of Clackamas!!!” the 43-year-old politician wrote. “Big shout out to Officer Campbell who responded professionally to someone who said that I was going door to door and spending a lot of time typing on my cell phone after each house — aka canvassing and keeping account of what my community cares about! I asked to meet my constituent who thought I was suspicious, but she was on the road by then. The officer called her, we talked and she did apologize.”
Bynum had spent around two hours knocking on dozens of doors and speaking with constituents in her district, when a patrol car from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department rolled up to inquire about what she was doing. She knew immediately that someone had called the cops.
The officer initially assumed Bynum was a salesperson before she introduced herself as a state legislature. In hindsight, the “bizarre” incident is a reminder that people need to get out and meet their neighbors, Bynum told the The Oregonian.
“It was just bizarre,” she said. “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.”