PORTLAND The U.S. Department of Justice announced plans Wednesday to investigate Portland police officers use of force.
The feds want to know if Portland officers have committed any civil rights violations.
This federal investigation follows several controversial police shootings, including the death of Aaron Campbell. The Jan. 2010 incident sparked protests and one officer was fired for his use of deadly force.
Most recently, the U.S. Justice Department ruled it would not pursue prosecution against those Portland officers for violating Campbell's civil rights.
Portland Police Chief Mike Reese and Mayor Sam Adams said they support the federal investigation. City Hall called for it after a series of controversial suspect deaths.
This is a great step, we got to start somewhere, so lets start now, Campbell's mother Marva Davis said.
Another case was that of James Chasse, who died while in police custody after an encounter with police in Old Town on September 17, 2006. Officers said Chasse appeared to be urinating outdoors and when he tried to get away they tackled him.
Medics were called to the scene and Chasse showed normal vital signs, then officers took him to the Multnomah County Detention Center according to officers.
The probe could last nearly two years. Investigators will study all police bureau policies and procedures surrounding use of force, particularly against people living with mental illness.
The feds said they will look for systemic problems within the Portland Police Bureau and investigators will also meet with community leaders outside of the Police Bureau.
It is an opportunity, and opportunity for the community to come together. For the police bureau to come together, Rev. Leroy Hanes from the Albina Ministerial Alliance said.
The Portland police union issued a statement blaming economic troubles for much of the controversies leading up to the incidents under investigation.
Mental care institutions have closed, and mental health organizations and their dedicated workers are overwhelmed. As a result, Portland Police Officers often have become the frontline in dealing with the mentally ill.
Every day, Portland Police Officers encounter dozens of individuals on the street who, ten years ago, would have been receiving structured mental illness care, president Daryl Turner wrote. We welcome that review, as we believe it will illustrate the reality of today's policing and will show the service, hard work and dedication of the men and women of the Portland Police Bureau
Similar federal inquiries have also begun in Seattle and Newark, New Jersey.
KGWReporter Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report