Cops Called on African-American Lawmaker in Oregon for Knocking On Doors

They might not always be totally welcome, but most people accept that political campaigners knocking on doors as elections are looming is a pretty standard part of living in a democracy. So imagine the surprise of State Rep. Janelle Bynum, a black lawmaker in Oregon who’s running for re-election this fall, when the cops were called on her for getting out and talking to voters because a woman thought she was ‘casing the neighborhood.’ Bynum was canvassing a Portland-area neighborhood that she represents Tuesday when a county sheriff’s deputy showed up. The deputy asked if she was selling something, and she introduced herself as a state legislator and told him she was canvassing. “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,” Bynum told Oregon Live. “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.”