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Bill looks to banish race-based police calls

SALEM, Oregon — Calling police for assistance solely based on a person’s race could lead to a lawsuit under a bill that’s awaiting a signature from Gov. Kate Brown.

State Sen. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) — who is black — said it can be terrifying for him sometimes when he’s stopped by police.

“When a police officer stops me, I wonder whether I’m going to live the rest of the day,” Frederick said.

This bill would allow the subject of the call to file a civil lawsuit against the caller if the intent is to infringe upon someone’s rights. Frederick said the subject would have to prove intent to cause harm to win the lawsuit.

Sen. Alan Olsen (R-Canby) argued that the bill would stop crime-watch programs and hinder people from reporting suspicious people in their neighborhoods to police.

“Intent is a difficult proposition to prove,” Olsen said.

The bill would not make the race-based reports a criminal offense.

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