Chief says shooting was outside of training
Officer Ronald Frashour “acted outside of his training and outside of police bureau policy,” according to a statement by the two leaders.
Reese cited Frashour for improper use of deadly force and disciplined another officer and two sergeants with 80-hour unpaid suspensions for their roles in the shooting.
“I have decided the use of force and less lethal force were out of the bureau’s policy,” said Reese in a prepared statement. “My decision was based on the significant policy violations and performance issues that occurred during this incident.”
The Rev. Allen Bethel, president of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, which has criticized police conduct in the incident, welcomed Frashour’s firing but said he’d like to have seen tougher suspensions for the other three officers.
“It does show that the bureau is beginning to take a look at these things that are being done and willing to hold the officers in the bureau responsible for the actions that have gone forth,” Bethel said.
The firing and suspensions come after the Jan. 29 death of Campbell, which occurred outside of his girlfriend’s apartment on Northeast Sandy Boulevard. The girlfriend’s aunt called the police saying Campbell was distraught from his brother’s health-related death that morning — telling the dispatcher that Campbell was armed and suicidal.
Campbell emerged from the apartment and was shot by beanbag rounds prior to Frashour’s firing an AR-15 rifle at his back, despite having his hands locked behind his head as he walked backward toward the officers. Officers said they thought Campbell was reaching for a weapon. A gun was later found inside the apartment.
“These were difficult decisions. Police officers are called on to make split-second decisions every day, and at times those are life-and-death decisions. Officers receive regular training in policy and procedure; ultimately though, the decisions made in the course of their work are their own,” said Adams in a statement. “A loss of life resulted. Thus, the discipline we have handed down is warranted.”
A Multnomah County grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing by Frashour. The jury decided the officer reasonably believed Campbell was reaching for a gun. But after their decision, jury members released a three-page letter that blamed lack of communication among officers, inadequate command and poor training for Campbell’s death. The jurors said the Portland Police Bureau should be held responsible.
The Portland police union has come out against Frashour’s firing, saying he and other officers have been used “as scapegoats to minimize the City’s and the Police bureau’s political and civil liability,” according to a statement.
The Portland Police Association goes on to say that Adams and the police chief “ignored the fact that the Training Division’s investigation was incomplete and that many in that division weren’t involved in the investigation to give a critique of the incident.
When the chief and mayor first recommended Frashour’s firing in late August, the police union called it a “dangerous precedent.” The union has also pointed out that the Portland Police Bureau has no written policy regarding how officer-involved shootings are investigated.
In firing Frashour, Reese is following the recommendation of a Use of Force Review Board, a panel of police and citizens that examined the police internal investigation, the training division’s analysis and commander’s findings.
Adams assumed control of the police bureau following some very public police-involved shootings, including Campbell’s death, the fatal shooting of a homeless man at Hoyt Arboretum, and continued controversy over the 2005 police-involved death of James Chasse.