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Published On: Sun, Jun 9th, 2019

Oregon moves ‘racist 911 caller’ bill forward for ‘legal pathway to justice’

Oregon state senators have passed a bill that would allow the victims of frivolous, discriminatory 911 calls to sue the callers.

On Monday, the Oregon state Senate passed House bill 3216, a measure introduced by the state’s three black Democratic legislators, including Oregon state Rep. Janelle Bynum.

The bill allows “victims” of these calls to sue a 911 caller for as much as $250 if the victim can prove that the 911 call was racially motivated and that the caller intended to discriminate or harm the reputation of the victim.

Bynum’s story of being questioned by police after a 911 call on her as she campaigned in her district went viral and sparked the hashtag #CampaigningWhileBlack.

”When someone gets the police called on them for just existing in public, it sends a message that you don’t belong here,” Bynum told the Associated Press on Monday.

Bynum was able to get an apology from the woman who called the police on her, but she realized that most people have no way to hold these callers accountable.

“This creates a legal pathway to justice for those of us who have to worry about getting the cops called on us for existing in public,” she said.

NBC notes examples of these “racist” motivations: “A black family in Oakland had the cops called on them for barbecuing in the park. A Yale graduate student was questioned for sleeping in her dorm’s common room. And a pair of black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks after one of them tried to use the restroom, sparking public outcry and the closure of 8,000 stores across the country for “racial bias” training.”

The last of those examples was a media hyped story as the two men were loitering, refusing to patronize the restaurant, insulting the staff and were asked to leave by police — this had little to nothing to do with race, as was revealed later.

Starbucks shuts down their stores for ‘unconscious bias training’ – here’s the details

Sen. Lew Frederick, a black lawmaker and one of the measure’s co-sponsors, discussed the measure, perpetuating the hysteria of fear, stating that people of color fear police for reasons a predominantly white Legislature could never understand.
“It’s not just an inconvenience when a police officer stops me,” he said. “When a police officer stops me, I wonder whether I’m going to live for the rest of the day.”

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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