February 11th, 2010 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall, Politics, Cops and Courts, CLEAN UP

Rally Places Blame for Fatal Police Shooting on City Leaders

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African-American leaders from Portland this morning blasted City Hall and Portland police, calling for reforms at a rally in the wake of a Multnomah County grand jury's decision not to indict an officer involved in a fatal shooting.

Nearly 100 people including religious leaders, former state lawmakers, political candidates and activists gathered on the steps on the downtown Justice Center. They demanded changes after a grand jury cleared Officer Ronald Frashour of criminal wrongdoing in the Jan. 29 shooting of 25-year-old Aaron Campbell.

"Here we are, once again, standing on these steps," said Rev. LeRoy Haynes. "We stand on this door and say we will keep returning, we will keep coming, until justice is rendered and the Portland Police Bureau is changed."

Heynes read a letter signed by 32 faith leaders that called for:

• Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk and the City Council to support a public inquiry into Campbell's death;

• Chief Rosie Sizer and the city commissioners to conduct a "total review" of the bureau's policies on use of force;

• City Council to support Commissioner Randy Leonard's proposal to strengthen the Independent Police Review Division;

• The state Legislature to narrow the language of the state law on deadly force by police officers;

Speakers at the rally repeatedly placed responsibility on City Hall, calling for change of leadership there and in the police bureau.

Addressing Mayor Sam Adams and the city commissioners, Rev. T. Allen Bethel said: "If you do not want to help us, we will help you pack your bags."

The crowd responded with loud cheers.

"We are in pursuit of different leadership at City Hall, and we are going to get it," said former state Sen. Avel Gordly (D-Portland), a spokeswoman for the latest campaign to recall Adams for lying about his 2005 relationship with the teenage legislative intern Beau Breedlove.

"The buck stops with [Adams]. It stops with every city council member we elect," said former state Rep. JoAnn Bowman (D-Portland). "[Sizer] works at the pleasure of the mayor."

Ed Garren and Jason Renaud, two of the candidates now challenging City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, whom Adams assigned the police bureau, were standing with the crowd on the steps of the Justice Center.

Garren told WW the shooting was "deplorable and tragic." He said many African-Americans are now afraid to call the police, and nothing is being done to address the problem.

"I don't feel I can recommend a person in crisis call the police any longer," Renaud, a mental-health advocate, told WW. "It's going to take a lot of work to convince people with mental illness that the police can be trusted."
 
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