Arbitrator: Officer who shot and killed man should get job back

Arbitrator: Officer who shot and killed man should get job back

PORTLAND, Ore. - An arbitrator ruled Friday that an officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man in January 2010 and was fired as a result should be reinstated.

Officer Ron Frashour was fired by Portland Police Chief Mike Reese and Mayor Sam Adams Nov. 16, 2010 after Frashour shot and killed 25-year-old Aaron Campbell at the Sandy Terrace Apartments on Northeast Sandy Boulevard.

In addition to getting his job back, arbitrator Jane Wilkinson also ordered the Portland Police Bureau to pay him the wages he lost after he was fired.

"I spoke with Aaron Campbell's mother today and expressed my disappointment in today's ruling," Adams said in a statement. "Chief Reese and I have been vocal about our stance on this case and we asked for this officer to be removed from service, based on the facts of the investigation and our policies. The City is reviewing all of its options, including whether we can appeal, and whether this is an award that is enforceable under state law."

Adams also posted a YouTube video. In it he said he intends to appeal the decision.

"We will not sit by and let the arbitrator's decision stand," he said.

Adams maintained that Frashour acted "outside of police protocols for use of deadly force."

In the same statement released by the Portland Police Bureau, Reese also said he was disappointed in the arbitrator's ruling.

"The decision regarding this discipline was incredibly difficult and complex," he said. "While I believe that each Bureau member was attempting to do their best, it was important to recognize the significant issues in regard to policy violations and performance issues that were brought forward. I concurred with recommendations made by the Performance Review Board and delivered what I believed to be appropriate discipline."

The bureau found that Frashour did not follow bureau policy. Frashour said he thought Campbell was reaching for a weapon. Frashour was cleared of any criminal charges.

The city eventually paid Campbell's family $1.2 million in a lawsuit settlement.

In a statement released shortly after the ruling’s announcement, the Portland Police Association said that for the fifth time an independent review of Frashour's actions found they were lawful.

"The Portland Police Association cannot allow Portland Police Officers to face termination and substantial discipline for doing their jobs correctly," the union wrote in its statement.
It said the decision to fire Frashour was political and not based on facts.

Police arrived at the apartment complex the night of Jan. 29 after receiving a 911 call. The caller said Campbell was suicidal and armed with a gun. Campbell’s brother had just died of a heart condition earlier that day.

Police said Frashour fired one shot at Campbell when he started running back toward the apartment. Campbell was shot in the back and was unarmed.

T. Alan Bethel, with the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, said the arbitrator made the wrong decision.

"We're going to continue to fight," he said. "I'll borrow the words that Jesse Jackson said in a rally shortly after the Campbell shooting, 'This is not a sprint. This is a marathon.'"

The coalition plans a picket outside City Hall Monday at noon. But Adams is asking everyone to try to remain calm and restrain themselves from retaliating no matter how disappointed they may be in the decision.

KATU News reporter Thom Jensen contributed to this report.

Video statement from Mayor Sam Adams: