BLACK VOICES
07/04/2018 08:08 am ET

Black State Rep. Says Someone Called Cops On Her While Canvassing

The constituent alerted police as Rep. Janelle Bynum was knocking on doors and spending lots of time on her phone.

An Oregon state representative called on her community to be better to one another after a constituent mistook her behavior as suspicious and called the police while she was canvassing. 

“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!” Rep. Janelle Bynum (D) wrote Tuesday on Facebook.

Bynum said the constituent later apologized, but she told The Oregonian/OregonLive that she found the incident “bizarre.”

“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,” she added. “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 Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment on the incident.

Videos of people calling police on black people have gone viral in recent months, including a call about people barbecuing, another about a 12-year-old mowing the lawn and one about a graduate student sleeping in a Yale University dormitory common room

“I know this incident is a drop in the bucket of trauma Black folk have endured since Day 1 America,” Lolade Siyonbola, the Yale student, wrote afterward.

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