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Oct. 2013: Lawsuit filed by Campbell family for deadly police shooting

The family of Aaron Campbell, shot dead by police last January, has filed suit against four Portland Police Bureau officers and the city of Portland.
Credit: KGW
Aaron Campbell, 25, was shot in the back by a police officer on the day his brother died from complications related to a heart transplant.

PORTLAND -- The family of Aaron Campbell, shot dead by police last January, has filed suit against four Portland Police Bureau officers and the city of Portland.

Read the complaint

The suit, filed by attorneys James McCandlish and Tom Steenson, alleges that the Portland Police Bureau has created an under-trained, undisciplined culture that created the circumstances in which Campbell was shot.

It individually names Officers Ronald Frashour, Ryan Lewton, Liani Reyna and John Birkinbine.

On January 29, Campbell learned that his brother had died. Police were sent around 4:20 to an apartment in Northeast Portland on reports that he was despondent and armed.

Officer James Quakenbush had established communication with Campbell via cell phone and text messages. Campbell came out of the apartment about 6 p.m., unarmed, the suit said, and, obeying police orders yelled at him, was walking backwards with his hands behind or on his head.

He was hit with beanbag rounds from a shotgun fired by Lewton. He was then hit gunfire from an AR-15 fired by Frashour.

The suit alleges that Reyna and Birkinbine should have coordinated communication between the negotiating and armed officers. A SERT team also should have been called.

The suit also alleges that the bureau has never disciplined any officer below the rank of lieutenant for use of force that has resulted in a citizen death, creating a culture that enables such practices.

The suit asks for unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

The city declined comment.

Campbell's mother Marva Campbell said it has become clear that a lawsuit is the most effective way to make public, all the facts.

Her lawyers McCandlish and Steenson declined comment beyond the complaint itself.