August 31st, 2010 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Cops and Courts

The Campbell Case: Reactions to the Recommendation for Firing Frashour



News that the Portland police Use of Force Review Board recommended firing Officer Ronald Frashour for the fatal shooting of Aaron Campbell was met with cautious praise from activists today.

"This is an appropriate response to the tragic death of Aaron Campbell," said Rev. LeRoy Haynes of the Albina Ministerial Alliance. "He died through error. He died through negligence."

The AMA has called for changes in the police bureau and the legal system as a result of Campbell's death. Haynes says the key question now is whether bureau leadership follows through with the board's recommendation. The final decision rests with Chief Mike Reese and Mayor Sam Adams.

"We do believe the direction and the intent is correct," Haynes says. "We personally believe we have to have accountability from the officers as well as changes [in the bureau]."

Dan Handelman of Portland Copwatch called the recommendation "a very good sign for the community," noting police have a majority on the board over civilians.

"That's a big deal," Handelman said.

Skipper Osborne, former head of the Portland NAACP, said he agrees with the board's recommendation.

"I want people to understand that every police officer out there is not bad. But we do have rogue cops out there like Frashour that need to be off the force," Osborne says. "Any police officer that was involved in the Aaron Campbell shooting should be fired."

This is not the first time Frashour has faced discipline for use of force. City Hall's Citizen Review Committee unanimously agreed in February that Frashour's use of a Taser in a 2006 incident was outside bureau policy.

Rev. T. Allen Bethel, also of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, says Frashour's final discipline will show how committed the city is to avoiding future payouts for lawsuits over police use of force. The city in July agreed to pay $1.6 million over the 2006 death of James Chasse Jr. in police custody.

"It will show that finally the city and the boards are coming to really take a serious look at use of force," Bethel says. "While there have not been any criminal charges filed, it does indeed cost the city on the back end tens of thousands, or millions, of dollars."

Bethel says if Reese and Adams decide to fire Frashour, the question then will be whether the police union will manage to overturn that decision in arbitration. That's what happened in 2008, when the police commanders' union fought then-Mayor Tom Potter's decision to fire Lt. Jeff Kaer for another fatal shooting.

"I hope arbiters will not summarily dismiss information and make it the same as it has in the past," Bethel says. "We're hoping this will help us not only look at one particular case, but look at some of the systemic problems that are happening inside the bureau."
 
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