On Monday, Oregon state senate could soon pass a bill that will allow victims to sue over racially motivated police calls.
What We Know:
- The states three black legislators introduced the bill in an attempt to crack down on incidents of white people calling the police on someone with the intent to discriminate.
- Victims could take the case to small claims court and sue callers for up to $250 in damages. The victims would have to prove that the caller had a racist intent to discriminate or ruin their reputation.
- In the past year, there have been countless of instances that have been circulating social media under the hashtag #livingwhileblack, where black people are being treated with suspicion for engaging in everyday activities.
- The bill’s co-sponsor Representative Janelle Bynum proposed the legislation after experiencing an incident like that last year. Bynum was going door-to-door for her re-election campaign when a woman called 911 because she looked “suspicious.”
- Although the bill received a unanimous vote, it still concerns some lawmakers. Senator Alan Olsen expressed his concern with the bill, stating that it could discourage people from reporting crime and make “our communities less safe.”
- Black lawmaker Senator Lew Frederick stated that the bill is about making Oregon “a more equitable community.” He believes these instances only increases the tension between police and the black community.
The bill was approved by the House but the chamber still needs to sign off on the change before it heads to Governor Kate Brown.