Oregon's anti-racial profiling law: how it all started

 Rocky Barilla with No On 105 Campaign Manager, Cristina Marquez

Rocky Barilla with No On 105 Campaign Manager, Cristina Marquez

Guest Blog
By Rocky Barilla

It was over 40 years ago, but I'll never forget when Delmiro Trevino walked into my office. He was upset, absolutely rattled. 

Without even identifying themselves, local police in his hometown of Independence, Oregon had approached him while eating at a local restaurant and interrogated him about his citizenships status.

One of the officers grabbed him by the arm, forcing him to stand in the middle of the restaurant as customers watched the scene.

Delmiro was a U.S. citizen, yet local police had been allowed to profile him, interrogate him, and humiliate him in his own hometown.

Stories like Delmiro's were all too common in Oregon back then. Local police would conduct neighborhood raids, bust down doors, grab people off the street, and demand to see their papers. We needed to change the system that allowed local police to racially profile people. 

It was a long road, but eventually I was elected to the Oregon Legislature and was able to craft and pass a bill that says local police can't stop, detain or interrogate someone just because of how they look or sound, or their perceived immigration status.

The bill was signed into law in 1987, and has been working as intended ever since.

Community members feel safe to report crimes they experience or witness, and local police say the law provides clear guidance to help them focus on local communities.

But now, a hate group is working to throw it out, and that's why I'm back in Oregon, traveling around the state to help defend it.

We can't go back to how it used to be. We must defeat Measure 105.