Society

Oregon Woman Convicted After Observing Police Stop

| by Michael Allen

Keely Meagan was found guilty of interfering with a police officer on Feb. 9 because she stopped her car to watch white Oregon State troopers pulled over a black motorist on Sept. 8, 2016.

Jackson County Circuit Judge David Hoppe found the 55-year-old woman guilty of the misdemeanor, but dismissed another charge for illegal parking or stopping, noted the Mail Tribune.

Meagan, who is white, said that she stopped on the edge of Interstate 5 because she was concerned about the black driver's safety due to reports of police shooting African-Americans around the country.

Hoppe told Meagan that she can watch police stops, but added that she created a dangerous situation by parking on the shoulder of the road.

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"You can continue to do that in a safe area," Hoppe stated. "That wasn't safe, and I think you recognize that."

However, the conviction was for interfering with the police, not safety.

"What happened that day was dangerous to you, too," Hoppe added. "You very well could have been hurt or killed. You can continue to do what you think is right, but don't stop behind police officers on I-5 in those circumstances."

According to Hoppe, who watched an Oregon State Police video of the incident, Meagan was too close to an interchange and exit.

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After being charged, Meagan lost her job teaching driver's education, even though she had not been convicted at the time.

Meagan testified during her trial that she told Trooper Marc Williams that she would park further off I-5, but he turned down that option and suggested that she park at a nearby Walmart, reported the Mail Tribune.

Meagan didn't because she thought the traffic stop would be over by the time she returned to scene.

Williams recalled that he told Meagan how parking her car on the edge of I-5 was creating a safety hazard because it was within 200 feet of an off-ramp during rush hour traffic.

Williams told the court that Meagan did make an offer to park her car on a grassy slope, but he thought she could get stuck.

Williams described Meagan's car as a van that could block other drivers' views, but she said her vehicle is a Pontiac Vibe that is about 5 feet tall.

During her trial, Meagan mentioned that she believed it was her duty to pull over every time a black person is stopped by the police.

"I think I've been an example of a white person standing up for justice for people of color," Meagan said in the court lobby. "People are inspired by that."

However, not everyone was inspired.

A pro-police website called Blue Lives Matter wrote: "Social Justice Warrior, Keely Meagan, Has Been Listening To Too Much Black Lives Matter Nonsense."

In 2015, Meagan wrote an essay on LinkedIn entitled "How Whites Can Say 'Black Lives Matter.'"

Sources: Mail Tribune (2), Blue Lives Matter, Keely Meagan/LinkedIn / Photo credit: Keely Meagan/LinkedIn

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