February 17th, 2010 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall, Cops and Courts

Independent Police Review Panel Finds Campbell Cop Wrongly Fired Taser

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A man who says he was mistreated in 2006 by the same officer involved in last month's controversial shooting of Aaron Campbell had his complaint against the police heard Wednesday night by a citizen review committee.

Frank Waterhouse Jr. accused Officer Ronald Frashour and three other cops of using excessive force three years ago while Waterhouse was filming a police search. Frashour used a Taser on Waterhouse before helping arrest him.

Three years after Waterhouse filed a complaint with City Hall's Independent Police Review Division, the CRC sent the case back to internal affairs last fall for further investigation.

Wednesday night, after a four-and-a-half hour meeting mired by confusion over process and policy, the CRC made only one substantial change to the bureau's findings.

The committee unanimously agreed that Frashour's decision to use a Taser on Waterhouse was outside of bureau policy. Their decision will now go to Police Chief Rosie Sizer. If she disagrees with the CRC's decision, the City Council makes the final call.

More recently, Frashour was providing "lethal cover" for officers who responded to a welfare call Jan. 29 for a man reported to be armed and suicidal. Frashour shot that 25-year-old man, Campbell, in the back with an AR-15 assault rifle when Campbell failed to obey police orders.

Campbell, who died at the scene, was later found to be unarmed.

That shooting caused a public uproar and cries for Frashour to be removed from duty pending an investigation. The hoopla extended to the hearing tonight in front of IPR's normally low-key Citizen Review Committee.

TV news crews filmed the start of the meeting — a rare occurrence at CRC meetings, which are typically sparsely attended. Sitting in a baseball cap and striped shirt, Waterhouse said the attention made him uncomfortable.

"This whole thing has just been really hard on me, and to keep having to relive it over and over again is bringing up anxiety issues," Waterhouse said. "I'm glad everyone is coming together so we can change things. I really don't have much to say."

The incident on May 27, 2006, involved Frashour and three other officers. Standing on a four-foot-high embankment, Waterhouse was Tasered, shot with a beanbag gun and arrested for disorderly conduct and criminal trespass.

Waterhouse was videotaping officers searching for a stolen car at a North Portland scrap yard where he worked. The officers warned him to stop filming, then took him to the ground and arrested him when he refused.

Waterhouse was acquitted of the criminal charges in court and later won a $55,000 settlement against the city at a civil trial last September. Sizer took the rare step of testifying against the officers at the trial.

Waterhouse filed his complaint with IPR in November 2006.

Sizer made preliminary findings that two of the officers violated bureau policy — Frashour for failing to give a warning before firing his Taser (but not for firing the Taser), and Officer Joshua Bocchino for firing beanbags and for doing so without giving warning.

But in front of the CRC board, Assistant Chief Brian Martinek defended the police bureau and the four officers who arrested Waterhouse.

"They have good histories, they are good performers, in the cases of all (four) officers," Martinek said. "We don't want to have situations where our officers aren't using the amount of force necessary. We've worked very hard to do that."

CRC member Jamie Troy II disagreed in this case.

"It just seems an overuse of police force given what started," Troy said. "I don't think the police responded judiciously in this case."
 
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