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Officer Who Shot Aaron Campbell In the Back Reinstated
City's Inability to Fire Ron Frashour Prompts Protests, Appeal

Quietly releasing the news after 5 PM on Friday, October 19, Mayor Sam Adams let the public know the City had reinstated Officer Ron Frashour, nearly two years after firing him for shooting (the unarmed) Aaron Campbell in the back (PPR #50). Adams immediately placed Frashour on paid administrative leave, noting the Employment Relations Board (ERB)'s September 21 ruling also ordered back pay rendered. On October 4, City Council unanimously voted to appeal the decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

An important nuance of the ERB finding is its focus on whether the City violated terms of the Portland Police Association (PPA)'s labor contract, and thus state law, rather than whether Frashour was guilty of misconduct (Oregonian, September 24--see "Rapping Back" for more).

The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, knowing the ERB might support the arbitrator's decision that Frashour should be reinstated (PPR #56), held a protest at City Hall on September 25. Speakers included Campbell family attorney Tom Steenson, Campbell's stepfather John Davis, and Ashlee Albies of the National Lawyers Guild, who noted "This is above and beyond protecting workers rights, this is the police making public policy to protect cops who kill people."

Frashour Rally Between the time of the ERB's decision and the Council vote, Auditor Lavonne Griffin Valade released a report concluding that none of the officers involved in testifying to the arbitrator had violated Bureau rules about lying. The October 1 document included the release of many pages of transcripts previously unavailable to the public, which show some of the differences of opinion between the upper management (Chief Reese and Assistant Chief Larry O'Dea) and the training officers. Lt. Robert King, then head of the Training Division, has taken a lot of heat for drafting multiple versions of the training analysis and switching from finding Frashour followed his training to saying he did not. The report states that there seemed to be no undue political influence that led to King's flip-flop. The Auditor's main conclusion was that if there had been protocols in place for how to conduct those analyses, there would have been less controversy.

When the Council decided to appeal the ERB ruling, it was so momentous an occasion that Commissioner Randy Leonard participated by phone to show the Council was indeed united 5-0 to pursue the issue. Leonard had previously commented that he wanted to let the issue go, but was prompted to act after PPA President Daryl Turner accused the Mayor of playing politics. In a September 25 statement, Turner wrote: "Mayor Adams has turned this into a personal vendetta using the hard earned dollars of taxpaying Portlanders as his personal check book to extend this politically motivated witch hunt," referring to the "questionable integrity [Adams] has had all during his tenure." Leonard responded that the lack of integrity by officers in the PPA led to "the indefensible killing of Aaron Campbell" (Portland Mercury, September 27).

Because Adams will be out of office before the Court of Appeals hears the case, it is important that the decision to appeal was done by City Ordinance and unanimously: Mayor-elect Charlie Hales, the day after he was elected, called the appeal a "waste of money." Clearly, he was not examining the larger question that can be answered by this legal action, even if the City fails: What does it take to keep an officer fired?

  People's Police Report

January, 2013
Also in PPR #58

DOJ Finds Excessive Use of Force
  Against People With Mental Illness

Police Shoot Man After Crash,
  Otis' Dad Denied Appeal

Other Shootings in Oregon
Cops Pepper Spray Teens, Activists
Review Board Orders Investigation
PPB Begins Anti-Racism Training
Frashour Reinstated After Ruling
Report: The Cop Who "Biked" Me
Chief Proposes New Taser Policy
Sheriff Told: Stop ICE Holds
  • Sit/Lie Struggle Continues
  • Copwatch Attends Exclusion Zone Meeting
  • DOJ Supports Skewed Drig Program
  • Police Psychologist Still White, Suburban
  • Police Profile On Killingsworth
  • FBI Stings Continue
  • Supreme Court Upholds Right to Record Cops
  • Lawsuits Total $320K
Rapping Back #58

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.

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