State Representative Janelle Bynum, a first-term Democrat running for re-election in Oregon this fall, had a resident call 911 on her on Tuesday while she canvassed neighborhoods in her own district. According to The Oregonian, an unnamed woman had told police that she saw Bynum, who is black, “[spending] a long time at houses in the area and appearing to be casing the neighborhood while on her phone.”
Fortunately, the local deputy recognized his representative and allowed Bynum, 43, to contact the woman who reported her as dangerous over the phone. Bynum said that the woman apologized to her, but that she insisted that “she called 911 for the safety of her neighborhood.” In response, Bynum reportedly told her constituent that she understood her fears, but that it would have been wiser to actually speak to her or contact a neighbor before wasting police time.
“I was surprised,” Bynum said. I had never had that happen to me before … but, you know, these days …” she added in an interview with USA Today.
“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,” said Bynum.
Bynum also shared photos of herself posing with the deputy on her Facebook page, noting that the reason why she was “spending a lot of time typing on my cellphone after each house” was because I believe in “keeping account of what my community cares about.” Bynum added that she had offered to meet with the woman to dispel her suspicions, but that the woman told her it was impossible since she was already “on the road.”
Below, hear more from Bynum in her interview with USA Today.
Read the full story at The Oregonian.