Rep. Travis Nelson, who represents House District 44 and describes himself as “the first ever Black LGBTQIA+ member of this body” has over the past few weeks claimed he was racially profiled by police while driving his car, stating that he was pulled over twice in three days for what he regards as “minor offenses”. This story has been heavily reported by other media, such as KOIN 6, where Nelson is quoted as saying,
“I’ve been stopped by law enforcement over 40 times, so this is nothing new to me. My white colleagues have not been profiled the way I have throughout my lifetime, and they certainly have not been pulled over by OSP twice in three days for low-tier offenses as I have been….While I was let off with a warning on both occasions, I know that things could have ended very differently. I know that I could have been the next Tyre Nichols. I’m grateful to be alive and to be able to call attention to the change we need in our system.”
However last night on Twitter, while questioned by the YamCo Conservatives account, Nelson admitted that during the second stop he was holding his cellphone when the officer in the police car looked over at him. This means Nelson was unquestionably violating Oregon state law ORS 811.507, Operating motor vehicle while using mobile electronic device which prohibits operating a motor vehicle while holding a cellphone.
After this was pointed out to Rep. Travis Nelson, Nelson then deleted his tweets.
Here are the tweets so you can see for yourself,
According to an interview with the Statesman Journal, Nelson claimed he was holding the cellphone during the second stop so he could connect to his car’s speakerphone. However, in an earlier interview with KOIN 6, Nelson admitted the officer involved with his first traffic stop informed Nelson that he observed Nelson having difficulty staying in his line, which could imply Nelson was also using his cellphone while driving at that time as well.
Perhaps instead of feigning victimhood and falsely accusing police officers of racially profiling him when he is caught breaking the law, Rep. Nelson should try following the laws of the state he is a lawmaker in. The law against operating a cellphone while driving is designed to protect other drivers from a distracted operator of a motor vehicle who is likely to crash into other cars and cause fatalities. Rep. Nelson clearly has little regard for the safety of others by breaking this law, to the point that even though he was never cited with a ticket for his speeding or cellphone usage, Nelson has decided to go on a victim hood campaign smearing the law enforcement officers who are simply doing their jobs. While there certainly are injustices by police that occur in our society, these incidents don’t appear to be examples of them.