Civil rights and spiritual leaders gathered Thursday outside City Hall to protest an Oregon Court of Appeals decision requiring Portland to reinstate a police officer fired in 2010 for shooting an unarmed African-American man.

Ron Frashour now will likely return to the Police Bureau for training next week, city officials said.

About 20 advocates and leaders with the Albina Ministerial Alliance for Justice and Police Reform huddled during a blustery and cold news conference to denounce Wednesday’s appeals court ruling in the controversial Jan. 29, 2010, shooting of Aaron Campbell outside his Northeast Portland apartment.

“We decry, we are disappointed and we stand united and frustrated that this has to come to this end,” said the Rev. T. Allen Bethel, the alliance’s co-chairman.

Bethel and others demanded that the City Council appeal the decision to the Oregon Supreme Court. If the city doesn’t do that, Bethel said, the Police Bureau must put Frashour in a position where he has “absolutely no contact with any of our public citizens.” They also asked that Frashour not carry a service weapon.

Frashour was one of several officers who responded to Campbell’s apartment. Campbell, 25, was distraught over the death of his brother and was suicidal. He emerged from his apartment at the request of police officers.

One officer shot Campbell with bean bag rounds, then Campbell turned and ran. Frashour shot him in the back with his AR-15 rifle. Officers, including Frashour, claimed Campbell appeared to reach for a weapon. Frashour was placed on leave in August 2010, then discharged in November.

It was a rare dismissal for use of force, but an arbitrator two years later overturned the city’s decision. A state board also upheld that ruling. Portland went to the appeals court.

Advocates say the Campbell shooting is one more example of the lack of accountability for police officers, especially when they’re involved in deadly confrontations with black men. Bethel said law enforcement agencies and the U.S. court system have perpetuated systemic racism for generations.

The Rev. Mark Knutson of Northeast Portland’s Augustana Lutheran Church said Frashour “gunned down” Campbell in cold blood.

“He did not see a father, a partner, a brother, a son. He saw a black man,” said Knutson. “And as we have seen time and time again in this nation, as we have cried out ‘black lives matter,’ in these shootings by police, there is a complete disregard for the lives of black men and people of color.”

While Campbell’s death was a tragedy, the officer believed Campbell was armed and was reaching for a gun, said Daryl Turner, the police union’s spokesman.

Albina Ministerial Alliance Statement On Court Ruling Reinstating Portland Police Officer Ron Frashour
T. Allen Bethel, president of the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, reads a statement opposing a court ruling this week requiring the city to rehire Portland police office Ron Frashour.

“For the seventh time, an independent review of Officer Ron Frashour’s actions nearly six years ago has found that he fully complied with the law and with national and local standards for the use of force,” Turner said in a statement Wednesday.

Turner declined further comment.

City attorneys are reviewing the appeals court ruling and Mayor Charlie Hales hasn’t decided whether to fight it, said his spokeswoman Sara Hottman.

Frashour has been on paid leave for more than five years, Hottman confirmed, pulling in $492,035.23. since he was terminated Nov. 19, 2010. Portland paid the Campbell family $1 million related to a civil rights suit.

The city’s legal costs for the arbitration and unfair labor practice cases totaled nearly $650,000.

— Andrew Theen

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