Protesters demand reforms after Campbell shooting

Protesters demand reforms after Campbell shooting

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Protesters marched on City Hall to deliver a message Wednesday to Portland Mayor Sam Adams, saying they want police reforms in order to avoid another fatal shooting by an officer.

The Rev. LeRoy Haynes, vice president of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, led the protesters from a noon rally on the steps of the city Justice Center to City Hall a block away.

“We come today to make a statement to our political officials and to our chief of police - no more tolerance of racism,” Haynes said.

The rally began with a protest against Ron Frashour returning to duty on Wednesday, although he was serving with a neighborhood response team and was not assigned to take any emergency calls. Frashour was the officer who shot and killed Aaron Campbell on Jan. 29.

Protesters said they want a federal review of the Campbell case and a special prosecutor in Portland to deal with police use of force cases. They said they plan to hold more rallies like the one Wednesday.

No uniformed police could be seen at any point along the route or inside the building, where Haynes presented Adams a letter as the mayor greeted the crowd of more than 200 people and TV cameras just outside his office.

"Your message is that you want to see real change in the Portland Police Bureau, and that you intend to stick with this issue until you see it," Adams told the crowd, summarizing the letter.

"We know that we continuously need to improve in this area," he added before the crowd broke into a chant of "Fire him!"

Some of the protesters demanded that Adams face Campbell’s mother, Marva Davis.

“Tell her why the cop is at work today and can get a paycheck. Explain that to her please,” shouted one man to the mayor.

Adams tried to address some of their concerns but a few in the crowd shouted over and at him. He eventually took the Campbell family into his office while his staff locked the door behind him.

The Wednesday rally followed an appearance Tuesday evening in Portland by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who called the shooting of Campbell "an execution."

Officer Frashour shot Campbell in the back with a rifle after police were called to his apartment building by the family of his girlfriend who was worried that Campbell was threatening suicide and was distraught over the death that day of his younger brother from heart disease.

Campbell had emerged from the apartment unarmed with his hands on his head and was shot with beanbag rounds before he began to run away. Frashour told investigators he believed Campbell was reaching for a gun.

A Multnomah County grand jury ruled the deadly use of force fell within guidelines but took the unusual step of writing a letter to District Attorney Michael Schrunk sharply criticizing police for the way they handled the incident.

Mayor Adams released a statement after speaking to Campbell’s family and said the communication breakdown between officers that night cost Campbell his life. He said he supports immediate change to police procedures and the decision of a judge to release grand jury testimony in the case.

“The release of the grand jury proceedings is part of, and only a part of, the work that needs to happen to increase transparency and accountability,” Adams said in the statement.

“The City has a lot of grieving left to do, and much work ahead of us to heal the rifts highlighted by this incident. We have real work ahead of us in addressing the fundamental inequities and disparities within our community.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.