Berg: Confrontation with campaign worker was racial, not political

A campaign field director, who is Black, videotaped as a white man told him to leave neighborhood: “I don’t want you here.”

April Berg

April Berg

MILL CREEK — A Black campaign worker for state Rep. April Berg was verbally accosted while trying to canvass a Snohomish County neighborhood Saturday, a confrontation the lawmaker said was motivated by race.

Julian Jackson, field director for Berg’s re-election campaign, got out of his car and was walking toward a house when a man bicycled up to him and demanded he leave the neighborhood near Mill Creek.

The verbal confrontation lasted roughly five minutes, most of which Jackson videotaped on his phone.

There’s no doubt in Berg’s mind the motive was racial, not political. Jackson, 21, is Black. The man was white.

“He just saw a young Black man drive up in a nice car and he wanted him out,” she said. “He wanted him out of his neighborhood.”

On Monday, Berg tweeted a portion of the video. She also urged candidates to create safety plans for such encounters for their canvassers.

“Our team has always talked about safety because I’m a Black candidate, because we had issues in 2020, and then even this year we had a hate symbol put on one of our signs,” Berg said. “This incident, for me, just highlighted those what ifs in your head when you are canvassing and door-belling while Black. This is the kind of stuff that happens, that can happen.”

Berg did not file a report with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said. “… This is really a traumatic event that’s happened to him. … It’s a lot of work and sometimes it can be a little bit retraumatizing.”

Earlier in the campaign, she did file a report with Mill Creek police when someone sprayed swastikas on campaign signs.

Jackson, a 2019 graduate of North Creek High School, is a junior at Hampton College in Virginia. The political science major said he had knocked on roughly 3,000 doors in the campaign without incident before the confrontation.

From the outset, he said, he felt “definitely, this was racially motivated.”

Jackson recalled he drove into the neighborhood a little before noon. As he looked for a “good legal place” to park, he noticed the man in front a house with his family.

When Jackson got out, he said he saw a man usher them inside, get on a bike and ride toward him. The man told him him to leave the neighborhood.

Jackson, who was wearing a Berg campaign T-shirt and had campaign literature, responded he would keep doing what he came to do.

The man hopped off the bike and advanced toward Jackson.

“He was making like he wanted to fight me,” Jackson said in an interview.

That’s when he started videotaping with his phone, he said. The man stopped advancing.

“I’m doing this for my safety,” Jackson says on the video. “You frightened me.”

The man tells Jackson “get out of my (expletive) neighborhood.”

“I don’t want you here,” he continues.

In the verbal confrontation, the man insists repeatedly that Jackson needs a permit to canvass in the neighborhood.

“I know the rules,” he says.

“I don’t think you do,” Jackson replies.

The man later says, “You’re trespassing, you need to get out of here.”

Jackson declines in a voice far calmer than when the confrontation began.

“I have a job to do, buddy. I am going to keep doing it,” he said. “I’ll make sure to not go to your house.”

Jackson actually didn’t go to any homes. He called Berg and recounted what occurred. She directed him to leave the area, he said.

“There is definitely this undertone when watching that video … of like, ‘Why are you here? Why are you in this community? Why are you on my block?’” Berg said. ”A lot of the video was about the quiet part being said out loud.”

No permit is needed to go door-to-door canvassing for a candidate or political cause, Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell said.

“The law is clear,” Cornell said. “Any attempt to suppress a person who is attempting to express their First Amendment rights is abhorrent of what we stand for in our society.”

Berg, a Democrat from Mill Creek, is running against Republican Ryne Rohla in the 44th Legislative District.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dospueblos.

Isabella Breda: 425-339-3192; isabella.breda@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @BredaIsabella.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Miners Complex tops 500 acres in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Nine lightning-caused fires force trail closures and warnings 21 miles east of Darrington. No homes are threatened.

FILE — President Joe Biden arrives for a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, July 3, 2024. Biden abandoned his campaign for a second term under intense pressure from fellow Democrats on Sunday, July 21, upending the race for the White House in a dramatic last-minute bid to find a new candidate who can stop former President Donald Trump from returning to the White House. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Biden drops out of race, endorses vice president Kamala Harris

The president announced the decision on social media Sunday.

Granite Falls ‘10-foot alligator’ is actually a tegu named ‘Tazz’

Anybody who spots the docile lizard, last seen near Granite Falls, is asked to notify 911, so Tazz can be reunited with owner.

Photos by Olivia Vanni / The Herald
Gabby Bullock sits on her bed in a room she shares with another housemate on June 14 in Everett.
‘We don’t have openings’: SnoCo recovery houses struggle with demand

Advocates say the homes are critical for addiction recovery. But home prices make starting a sober living house difficult.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Food safety team defends its work: it’s a ‘high pressure, thankless’ job

Management tried to set the record straight about long permit delays in Snohomish County.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Global tech outage leaves a mark on Snohomish County

The CrowdStrike software update hit some systems at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and briefly disrupted 911 operations.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.