PORTLAND, Ore. -- The president of the Portland Police union said that Chief Rosie Sizer was responsible for the growing distrust that many Portlanders felt about their police force.
Union President Scott Westerman said it was ultimately up to Chief Sizer to accurately inform and defend officers when questions arise about "why" and "how" deadly use of force occurs. The discussion came in response to an unusually specific grand jury statement blaming the Police Bureau in the "needless death" of Aaron Campbell.
Westerman also said that the public's growing distrust in their police force was in part due to the 2006 death of James Chasse.
"I believe the public is outraged because they do not have the information about why we do what we do and how we do what we do. And I believe that is something they haven't had for a number of years now," Westerman said, adding that the "disconnect has been growing wider and wider and wider since the Chasse incident."
If police officers waited for visual confirmation that a suspect was armed, "somebody will be killed," Westerman added.
Westerman also said that the officer who shot Aaron Campbell acted in accordance with Police Bureau policy regarding deadly use of force. Officer Ron Frashour was exonerated by the grand jury, which stated it could not criminally charge an officer for acting in accordance with bureau policy.
The bureau itself was to blame, jurors concluded, and Frashour would have to live with shooting Aaron Campbell because he had poor information from dispatch and was left alone to decide to shoot a man, in the field, in a highly volatile situation.