Rev. Jesse Jackson addresses reporters before a rally at Maranatha Church.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, a national civil rights leader, made his way to Portland earlier today at the invitation of Albina Ministerial Alliance to call attention to the shooting of Aaron Campbell, a black male who was killed by police late last month.
On Tuesday afternoon, Jackson, who was in Eugene on a planned visit to the University of Oregon, met with Mayor Sam Adams and Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman to discuss the incident that has spurred calls for more accountability of the Police Bureau.
“It was a good meeting,” said Jackson, speaking to reporters in Maranatha Church in northeast Portland, who described it as non-confrontational, but didn’t go into specifics.
He condemned the incident forcefully, saying it was “beneath the dignity of man” for Campbell to lay bleeding to death on the concrete after being shot.
Jackson also had harsh words for the process that left Ronald Frashour, the officer who shot Campbell with an AR-15 rifle, free to return to work on Wednesday.
He said that it was an insult for the officer to return to work when the community was still reeling from the incident, and said that he should be suspended.
“There can be no justice until you take the glass out of the wound,” he said.
Jackson said that the grand jury that chose not to indict Frashour was all white. He also asserted that key witnesses were not called to the stand.
“We fight terrorists around the world. We at least want to be protected from terrorism at home,” he said.
Holding a copy of the Urban League’s “State of Black Oregon” report, which found blacks at the bottom of nearly every social indicator, Jackson called for the city to act to address inequity and create more equitable opportunity for all citizens.
He also mentioned that the police had killed four other people in the last seven years, which he found to be a sign that the Police Bureau was in deep need of systematic reform, and was an issue of national concern.
Jackson echoed calls made by local leaders for the U.S. Justice Department to get involved in the case, and for a special prosecutor to be assigned.
“You’d do that to protect the system’s integrity,” he said.
Before speaking to over 1,000 people in the church, former state Senator Avel Gordly, who is leading a second effort to recall Adams, again blasted the leadership at City Hall before Jackson took the state.
He called for a stop to violence and for citizens to apply more pressure to the city if Frashour returns to work.