Review board recommends firing officer in fatal shooting

Review board recommends firing officer in fatal shooting »Play Video
Aaron Campbell

PORTLAND, Ore. - A Portland Police Bureau review board recommends that the police officer who shot an unarmed, despondent black man should be fired, according to a news report in the Willamette Week.

The recommendation to fire Officer Ronald Frashour, who shot and killed 25-year-old Aaron Campbell in January, came from the Portland Police Bureau’s own Use of Force Review Committee.

According to the Willamette Week and confirmed by a KATU News source within the bureau, the board also recommends that three other officers who were involved be put on some degree of unpaid leave as punishment.
Those officers are Officer Ryan Lewton, Sgt. Liani Reyna and Sgt. John Birkinbine. The board recommends Lewton receive 80 hours of unpaid leave; Reyna, 40 hours; and Birkinbine, 20 hours of unpaid leave.

Frashour shot Campbell on Jan. 29. Campbell was despondent over the death of his brother, Timothy, who had died earlier that day from a heart condition.

Frashour told investigators he thought Campbell was reaching for a gun.

The shooting sparked protests and visits from the Rev. Jesse Jackson. The grand jury in the case issued a scathing letter, saying multiple mistakes were made and that Campbell died of flawed police policies, incomplete or inappropriate training and incomplete communication.

On Tuesday the Police Bureau would only confirm Frashour was put on paid administrative leave on Friday.

“This is the third sniper shooting of somebody who had been in negotiations with the police in about five years,” said Dan Handelman, with Portland CopWatch. “We had hoped that something would come of it and seeing that the recommendation for him to be fired by a board that’s majority is made of police officers is very encouraging.”

Handelman said the review board is made up of an assistant chief, the officers’ own commander and two peer officers who do the same job as Frashour.

The recommendation surprised the Rev. LeRoy Haynes Jr., a member of the Albina Ministerial Alliance. He said the situation shows why minorities are afraid to call police to deal with other issues like gang violence.

“People don’t trust the officers. They wonder if they call 9-1-1 would they be the victims of the officers they’re calling?” said Haynes. “There’s a critical question, and I think this could be a good sign, a first step, toward that healing process.”

If Frashour is fired he could appeal through an arbitrator.

The mayor’s office declined to comment, saying it would be inappropriate to comment on the proceedings right now.

The president of the police union did not return a call seeking comment.