Lawmaker says daughter racially profiled at Clackamas mall
A Portland area lawmaker says her 17-year-old daughter was racially profiled by a security guard at Clackamas Town Center.
In response, Rep. Janelle Bynum — a Democrat whose district includes Happy Valley, Clackamas and the East Portland area Powelhurst-Gilbert — is proposing a "loiter in" protest at the mall.
"You can be vigilant about criminal activity while disproportionately and illegally targeting certain people based on race. It's called collateral damage," Bynum wrote on social media. "This is what people don't understand about discrimination."
According to her mom's account, student-athlete Christine Bynum and a friend were sitting in a car in the mall parking lot on Friday, Sept. 20 because the friend didn't have a legal ID and hadn't been allowed to purchase a movie ticket. After a short time, a security guard apparently approached the two girls, who were using their phones, and told them they were loitering.
"They didn't even know what the word meant. But they knew they had been profiled," Bynum recounted.
Clackamas Town Center personnel didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but Bynum wrote on Sept. 22 that she received a "very cold" voice mail from the general manager saying he is gathering information.
On Facebook, around 80 people said they were interested in attending the "Loiter-in for Chrissy" event, set to occur daily from Sept. 23 to Sept. 28. An online version of the mall's code of conduct does prohibit "excessive loitering," though the lawmaker noted there's no prohibition against window shopping.
The story was picked up nationally by the Washington Post and the Associated Press over the weekend.
Rep. Bynum went viral once before in July of last year, after a resident called the police while the politician was campaigning door to door within her own House District 51. A local sheriff's deputy responded to the scene, but quickly recognized Bynum and saw that no crime was being committed.
Bynum subsequently co-sponsored a new law that passed during the 2019 legislative session. It allows callers who report non-crimes to 9-1-1 to be sued in small claims court for up to $250 in damages.
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