PORTLAND, Ore. June 11 2019– A man says he was unfairly stopped in his Portland apartment building lobby by an armed security guard who asked for his ID to prove he lived in the building.
The confrontation between the guard and longtime Southpark Square Apartments resident Pedro Oliveira happened on June 4.
Oliveira told KATU News he routinely sits in the lobby and listens to a podcast or uses his phone. He said he was just relaxing and sitting on a chair when he was approached and asked for his identification. The incident was captured on cellphone video.
“Why did you stop me in the first place?” Oliveira can be heard asking the guard, who in turn told him, “just because you were hanging out in the lobby. We’ve had a lot of people coming in here and trying to steal things, trying to sleep.”
The guard continued to ask for identification. Oliveira requested to see paperwork he was required to do so.
“I did not convey any suspicious body language. The only thing that I can see is, that the fact that I am, that I’m a brown kid,” Oliveira said. “I’m a brown person wearing flip-flops and shorts in the lobby of my own building. I really cannot see any other reason.”
The guard backed down when several neighbors intervened.
“We’re neighbors,” a man yells from off-camera. “He lives here. He lives across the hall from me.”
The guard was contracted through Arcadia Security & Patrol. Management at Southpark Square has since terminated their contract with the company, saying in part “it is against our policy to have an armed private security officer at our property for any reason.” (Full statement below.)
Arcadia told KATU in a statement the company was hired by Southpark Square Apartments to patrol the property after a string of break-ins.
“Southpark Square requested that the patrolling officers confirm subject residency by asking for visual proof of the property access key, verbal identification of ones unit or picture identification of all persons congregating in and around the property,” the company said. (Full statement below.)
Oliveira said building managers mentioned he would need to show a security tab to enter the pool area, but he was not notified that the security team may ask tenants for proof of residency.
KATU spoke with other residents who also said they were unaware that security would check their ID to confirm they lived there.
Oliveira says he is concerned for other minorities who may not know what to do.
“I was able to speak my mind and get away with that, but not every foreigner, brown person, that lives in this neighborhood or lives in the United States might be as eloquent and understand a little bit about law like I do,” Oliveira said. “I don’t want people to feel threatened in their own building.”
Below is a full statement from Russell Peterson, Regional Vice President, Pinnacle Properties:
“We thank our resident for informing us immediately about this situation and are very sorry that he was subjected to this behavior. We have had private security monitoring our property since 2012 and we do not in any way condone the actions or statements made by this security guard. Additionally, it is against our policy to have an armed private security officer at our property for any reason. For these reasons, we have terminated our relationship with this security and patrol company. Safety and respect remain high priorities at our community and we will not employ individuals or companies who do not share our core values.”
Below is a full statement from Mike Zocchi, Vice President of Arcadia Security & Patrol:
“Arcadia Security & Patrol was hired by Southpark Square Apartments to patrol the residential and common areas of the apartment complex after a series of break-ins and trespasses. Southpark Square requested that the patrolling officers confirm subject residency by asking for visual proof of the property access key, verbal identification of ones unit or picture identification of all persons congregating in and around the property. On June 4, 2019, the patrolling Arcadia officer asked four persons for such confirmation without incident. The fifth person contacted while the Arcadia officer was patrolling refused to provide proof of subject residency. This person eventually provided the requested information and was confirmed to be a resident.”