Jackson calls for DOJ probe into Campbell death

Jackson calls for DOJ probe into Campbell death

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by Eric Adams

kgw.com

Posted on February 15, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 17 at 1:27 PM

PORTLAND, Ore.  -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson brought a national perspective on police violence to the unrest in Portland following the Jan. 29 shooting of an unarmed black man thought to be suicidal.

Meantime, the officer who shot and killed Campbell returned to duty Wednesday. Officer Ron Frashour was cleared to go back to work after a Multnomah County grand jury found his use of deadly force fell within guidelines. But Frashour will be working for a neighborhood response team, and not taking emergency calls.

More: Details of Frashour's return to duty

Jackson spoke at the Maranatha Church of God in NE Portland Tuesday night to a predominantly black congregation. He was in the state to speak on leadership and civil rights at the University of Oregon. The reverend came to Portland to address the Campbell issue and speak with Mayor Sam Adams after a Multnomah County grand jury cleared Officer Ron Frashour of criminal charges in Campbell's death.

More: KGW talks with Jesse Jackson

The racial makeup of the grand jury was questioned at the rally.

"It doesn't represent the people, this grand jury should've been made up differently," he said, calling for a investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Jackson met with Portland Mayor Sam Adams and Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman on Tuesday. He also criticized the makeup of the grand jury and lamented the lack of diversity on Portland's police force.

After the meeting, Mayor Adams told KGW that Jackson was "courteous but clear" in his feedback on Campbell's death.

"I think there was a frank discussion and people are upset -- nationally and in this city," Adams said.

 

Leonard wants Police Bureau shakeup

City Commissioner Randy Leonard, an outspoken critic of Portland Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Chief Rosie Sizer, said in a blunt letter posted on his Web site Tuesday that the communications problems cited by the grand jury were nothing new.

More: Leonard slams police in online letter

Leonard recalled the 2005 death of a 30-year-old suicidal man who was shot in the back by a police sniper while a Portland Police Bureau negotiator was on the phone with him.

The shooting of Raymond Gwerder cost the city of Portland $500,000, Leonard said, in settlement of a lawsuit.

"This is the second recent shooting death where the PPB has shot and killed a distraught citizen as a direct result of a lack of communication between the shooting officer and the Police negotiator," Leonard said.

 

Portland divided on Campbell issue

Campbell's death and a critical statement from the grand jury investigating the shooting led city leaders to review how the police force could better respond in sensitive, high-risk situations involving those with mental health issues.

Campbell was reportedly suicidal and his girlfriend had called 9-1-1 from her apartment. According to police, there was a gun in the home when police responded. A statement from the grand jury investigating Officer Ron Falshour, who shot Campbell, said better communication in the field could have prevented the "needless death."

The National Action Network, founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, held a protest in Portland last weekend demanding criminal charges be filed in the shooting.

Jackson and Sharpton offered support to black leaders in Portland who have called for changes to state and local laws that improve accountablity and procedures for police in situations where "deadly force" may be required. They were expected to push for a federal investigation after the Multnomah County grand jury declined to indict Falshour.

Aaron Campbell's death was unnecessary and preventable, the grand jury concluded. He was grieving the death of his younger brother, Douglass, who had died the same day from lung and heart complications.

Background: Police shoot, kill suicidal man

Campbell's mother, Marva Davis, supports reform and said she was afraid of the police.

KGW Reporter Michael Benner contributed to this report.

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