Portland (272788)

A Black man in Portland will be paid $50,000 after being racially profiled by the same White cop within a month’s time, reports Oregon Live. The city of Portland will pay the $50,001 to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by an African American man who said a Portland officer showed up at his job to talk to his boss after he accused the officer of racially profiling him. The officer had stopped the man twice within a month in the same vicinity in Southeast Portland.

“For me, it’s not about the monetary value,’’ said Jamaal Winchester, 39, who filed the suit. “It’s about holding people with authority accountable.’’ The first time, on May 31, 2016, Winchester was on his way to work at the U.S. Postal Service and in uniform when Officer Gregory Burn pulled him over near Southeast 50th Avenue and Foster Boulevard.

The officer alleged Winchester had invalid registration tags and wasn’t wearing his seat belt in his 2004 GMC Envoy. Burn wrote out a ticket and told Winchester if he fixed his tags and took a class, the ticket would be dismissed, the suit alleges. A month later, Burn again pulled Winchester over as Winchester was headed to court to have his ticket dismissed after completing a seat belt safety class. Winchester was leaving work and driving a different car, a Cadillac Escalade, when he was stopped near Southeast 52nd and Bush streets on June 28, 2016.

According to the discrimination suit, as the officer approached the driver’s window, Burn started laughing and said sarcastically, “What are the chances? One in a million!” Again, Burn cited Winchester for not wearing a seat belt and improper display of registration tags. Frustrated, Winchester, remarked at the scene, “Might as well just hand me that and say, ‘Have a good day (n-word),’’ the suit says. The encounter grew more tense.

The officer, who is White, yelled at Winchester for making such a comment, then said he was going to call the judge immediately and advise him not to dismiss Winchester’s ticket from the month before. At one point, Winchester, who was not in his postal service uniform, stepped from his car to try to talk with the officer further, but Burn ordered him back into the car, with his hand on his holster, the suit says.

After both drove away, Burn showed up at Winchester’s job and asked to speak to Winchester’s boss. The officer told the boss that Winchester was making the Postal Service look bad and claimed Winchester had been “combative and aggressive,” the suit says. Winchester said he had driven back to his office to calm down after the second stop. When he learned the officer had been seen circling the postal office a couple of times before coming in to talk to his boss, Winchester said he felt “surprised, shocked and embarrassed.’’

“By making false and defamatory statements to Winchester’s employer, yelling at him and threatening to improperly influence the legal process to effectuate a stiffer penalty than Winchester would otherwise have had, defendant Burn violated Winchester’s right to speak about matters of public concern,” Winchester’s lawyers Beth Creighton and Michael Rose wrote in the suit. Winchester ended up paying a $60 fine for improper display of registration stickers from the first stop and was issued a $150 fine after the second stop for both improper display of registration stickers and failure to wear a seat belt.

The city admitted the officer made initial remarks about “one in a million,” but the officer denied laughing or saying anything in a sarcastic manner. The city also admitted the officer said he was going to contact the judge about Winchester’s behavior and that Burn went to Winchester’s work. But the city and Burn, a 14-year bureau veteran, acknowledged no wrongdoing in offering a settlement. Winchester, through his lawyers, accepted the offer on Monday. Burn was among four officers named in another lawsuit settled by the city in 2014 for $110,000 after a man complained that officers struck him repeatedly and Tased him until he lost consciousness as he was leaving a nightclub in Old Town in 2010.