12-05-2022  4:18 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Tough Oregon Gun Law Faces Legal Challenge, Could Be Delayed

Midterm voters narrowly passed one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, but the new permit-to-purchase mandate and ban on high-capacity magazines faces a lawsuit that could put it on ice just days before it's set to take effect.

Portland Approves $27M for New Homeless Camps

Public opposition to the measure and the money that will fund it has been heated, with critics saying it will criminalize homelessness and fail to address its root causes.

Portland Settles Lawsuit Over Police Use of Tear Gas

The lawsuit was originally filed by Don't Shoot Portland in June 2020. “Our freedom of expression is the foundation of how we make social change possible,” Teressa Raiford said in a news release. “Black Lives Still Matter.”

Oregon Lawmakers Lift Security Measure Imposed on Senator

Since July 2019, Sen. Brian Boquist had been required to give 12 hours notice before coming to the Oregon State Capitol, to give the state police time to bolster their security and to ensure the safety of people in the Capitol.

NEWS BRIEFS

Volunteers of America Oregon Receives Agility Grant From the National Council on Problem Gambling

The funds will support the development of a Peer Driven Problem Gambling Prevention Campaign targeting high school and college-age...

Commissioner Jayapal Invites Community Members for Coffee

Multnomah County Commissioner will be available for a conversation on priorities and the county's work ...

GFO African-American Special Interest Group Meeting to Feature Southern Claims Commission

The Dec. 17 meeting of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon will feature Shelley Viola Murphy, PhD via ZOOM. Murphy will discuss the...

Charter Commission Concludes Study, Issues Report

The Portland Charter Commission have concluded their two-year term referring nine proposals to the November 2024 election and...

PBS Genealogy Show Seeks Viewers’ Brick Walls

The popular PBS show “Finding Your Roots” is putting out a nationwide casting call for a non-celebrity to be featured on season...

Driver gets 3 ticket for driving with snow on windshield

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — A Washington State Patrol trooper issued a 3 ticket to a driver Sunday after the person drove more than 5 miles (8 kilometers) with their vehicle and windshield almost completely covered in snow. Trooper Heather Weatherwax said the State Patrol received a...

Inslee touts new housing program for Spokane's homeless

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was in Spokane Monday to preview the opening of a new housing project for homeless people, calling the Catalyst Project a step toward ending the state's homelessness crisis. The new housing, in a converted hotel, aims to provide...

Wake Forest, Missouri meet for first time in Gasparilla Bowl

Wake Forest (7-5, ACC) vs. Missouri (6-6, SEC), Dec. 23, 6:30 p.m. EST LOCATION: Tampa, Florida TOP PLAYERS Wake Forest: QB Sam Hartman ranked second among ACC passers with 3,421 yards and tied for first with 35 touchdowns despite missing a game because of...

Missouri holds off Arkansas 29-27 to reach bowl eligibility

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri and Arkansas will be headed to similar bowl games after the Tigers held off the Razorbacks 29-27 on Saturday night, leaving each of the bitter border rivals 6-6 on the season. Only one walked out of Faurot Field with victory cigars. Brady...

OPINION

‘I Unreservedly Apologize’

The Oregonian commissioned a study of its history of racism, and published the report on Oct. 24, 2022. The Skanner is pleased to republish the apology written by the editor, Therese Bottomly. We hope other institutions will follow this example of looking...

City Officials Should Take Listening Lessons

Sisters of the Road share personal reflections of their staff after a town hall meeting at which people with lived experience of homelessness spoke ...

When Student Loan Repayments Resume, Will Problems Return Too?

HBCU borrowers question little loan forgiveness, delays to financial security ...

Tell the Supreme Court: We Still Need Affirmative Action

Opponents of affirmative action have been trying to destroy it for years. And now it looks like they just might get their chance. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Justices spar in latest clash of religion and gay rights

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court 's conservative majority sounded sympathetic Monday to a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for gay couples, the latest collision of religion and gay rights to land at the high court. The designer and her supporters...

Former Education Secretary King named SUNY chancellor

Former U.S. Education Secretary John King Jr. has been appointed chancellor of the State University of New York, the nation's largest university system, SUNY announced Monday. King is scheduled to begin in January at a salary of a 0,000. The appointment marks a return to New York...

EXPLAINER: US power grid has long faced terror threat

WASHINGTON (AP) — Investigators believe a shooting that damaged power substations in North Carolina was a crime. What they haven't named yet is a suspect or a motive. Whatever the reason, the shooting serves as a reminder of why experts have stressed the need to secure the U.S....

ENTERTAINMENT

'Road Trippin' — Red Hot Chili Peppers unveil 2023 tour

NEW YORK (AP) — There's no rest for the spicy: Fresh off a world tour and two albums this year, Red Hot Chili Peppers are preparing for a set of stadium shows and festival stops across North America and Europe in 2023. Live Nation said Monday the band's 23-date global trek kicks...

Review: Thief forced to steal a vital U.S. defense secret

“Three-Edged Sword,” by Jeff Lindsay (Dutton) After the Cold War, former Soviet spy Ivo Balodis built himself a fortress in an abandoned missile site on an island in the Baltic Sea. There, he has continued to deal in secrets — but for profit instead of for country. ...

Review: A Sugarplum Fairy waves a sweet 'Nutcracker' goodbye

NEW YORK (AP) — George Balanchine’s “Nutcracker” ends with a big, collective farewell wave. Every single dancer onstage is waving — from the Sugarplum Fairy and her fellow inhabitants of the Land of Sweets down below, to Marie and her Prince up above, soaring in their wooden sleigh. ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

North Carolina blackouts caused by shootings could last days

CARTHAGE, N.C. (AP) — Tens of thousands of people braced Monday for days without electricity in a North Carolina...

Ex-Miami congressman Rivera arrested in Venezuela probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Miami congressman who signed a million consulting contract with Venezuela’s...

China eases controls, gives no sign when 'zero COVID' ends

BEIJING (AP) — China is easing some of the world’s most stringent anti-virus controls and authorities say new...

Trial of 10 accused over Brussels suicide attacks underway

BRUSSELS (AP) — More than six years after the deadliest peacetime attack on Belgian soil, the trial of 10 men...

Indonesia's Mt. Semeru eruption buries homes, damages bridge

SUMBERWULUH, Indonesia (AP) — Improved weather conditions Monday allowed rescuers to resume evacuation efforts...

Report: Ukraine war ups arms sales but challenges lie ahead

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Global arms sales increased by nearly 2% in 2021, the seventh consecutive year of increases, an...

Lisa Loving of The Skanner News

Portland Police Officer Ron Frashour, under intense scrutiny after fatally shooting the unarmed and suicidally-depressed Aaron Campbell in the back during a stand-off last January, was fired today by the Portland Police Bureau.

If it survives the labor union grievance process that now kicks into gear for Frashour, the move would make him the first police officer permanently fired by the City of Portland for killing an unarmed citizen in the line of duty.

The announcement was made after the "mitigation" process required by the disciplinary rules within the police bureau.

Frashour, who had drawn multiple citizen complaints and, so far, three lawsuits over his use of force in the past, had become the poster child for police brutality in Portland.

"This is very good news for the community, this is what we've been calling for, the firing of Officer Frashour and punishment for all the officers involved in this incident," said Dan Handelman of Portland Copwatch and the Albina Ministerial Alliance for Peace and Justice Reform. "Hopefully this will also lead to better communication in the future, because this was the third case where a police sniper shot somebody who had been on the phone with a police negotiator, and they didn't need to shoot at all."

(Click here for Portland Copwatch's list of Portland Police Shootings and Deaths in Custody, 1992-May, 2010 ).

Mayor Sam Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese this morning issued statements about the decision, which came less than two weeks after Campbell's family filed a wrongful death suit against the city for an unnamed amount in damages.

"The investigation found no malicious intent on behalf of any of the officers involved with this event," Reese said in a statement. "But, based on the investigation, these officers acted outside of their training and outside of Police Bureau policy. A loss of life resulted. Thus, the discipline we have handed down is warranted."

The disciplinary roster included termination for Frashour, and 80 hours of unpaid suspension for Officer Ryan Lewton, who fired bean bag rounds at Campbell's back; and 80 hours of unpaid suspension for supervisors Sgt. Liani Reyna, and Sgt. John Birkinbine.

"These were difficult decisions. Police officers are called on to make split-second decisions every day, and at times those are life-and-death decisions," Reese said. "Officers receive regular training in policy and procedure; ultimately though, the decisions made in the course of their work are their own."

Reese urged Portland residents to go online and read all the documents relating to the case and the disciplinary measures, which are posted at www.portlandonline.com (follow the links to the Police Bureau page).

Handelman noted that the department's transparency in releasing all the documents in the case including the disciplinary letters written for each officer punished, is unprecedented and deserves praise for the city and the police bureau.

He noted that it took months to get public release of the police disciplinary letters in the 2006 James Chasse death in custody case, which ended in a $1.6 million settlement in late July of this year.

In the Campbell killing, city officials in September released statements indicating their intent to fire an unnamed police officers over the Jan. 29 shooting, but they didn't specify who was on the chopping block because the officers in question still had not completed the entire disciplinary appeals "mitigation" process, in which they are allowed to explain any special circumstances that led to the actions in question.

The Use of Force Review Board in August recommended that Frashour should lose his job for firing the shot in the back that killed Campbell, 25, as he was trying to give himself up to police during a mental health crisis triggered by the death of his younger brother from heart problems.

The Grand Jury in February found officers did not violate policies, but it also expressed outrage at the scene that led to Campbell's death and urged the city to rethink its rules on use of force.

In an almost unprecedented move, jury members pushed Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk and Mayor Sam Adams to petition the court to reveal transcripts of its hearings. "Portland deserves better," jury members wrote in a statement. "Aaron Campbell deserved better."

Portland Copwatch, a nonprofit group that keeps detailed records of violent police incidents on its website, www.portlandcopwatch.org, had advocated for Officer Lewton to receive the same punishment as Frashour, because, the group argues, it was Lewton's shooting of Campbell in the back with multiple bean bag rounds that set in motion the sequence of events that turned deadly Jan. 29.

Documents show that Campbell, who had hours earlier looked on as his girlfriend and their young children left the apartment where he was allegedly threatening to kill himself with a handgun, had backed out of the building with his hands on his head after a successful negotiation with police via cellphone.

It was then that he was – within a matter of seconds – shot in the back with bean bag rounds, as well as an AR-15 automatic shotgun, and attacked by a police canine unit. He was cuffed and left bleeding in the rain while officers tried to figure out whether he was armed or not; a medical unit called to the scene pronounced him dead some 20 minutes after the shots were fired.

His gun was later located in a hall closet inside the apartment.

"Campbell was not aggressively resisting the police at the time that Lewton fired the beanbag, but Campbell had his hands on the back of his head -- which is not dangerous to the police," Handelman said. "And Lewton decided, on his own, to shoot the bean bags and try to get him to comply, and it's not a compliance tool – it's a less lethal weapon that could kill somebody."

Portland Copwatch lists two other police shootings of individuals while they were in contact with hostage negotiators and preparing to give themselves up: Raymond Gwerder in 2005, whose family eventually won a $500,000 settlement with the City of Portland; and Leslie Paul Scott Stewart, who was shot in the head by a police sniper in 2007 but survived.

The only other Portland Police Officer fired for killing a civilian was Lt. Jeffery Kaer, who in 2006 shot to death a motorist who had been sleeping in a car in front of Kaer's sister's house, and was fired by then-Mayor Tom Potter. Kaer was reinstated with back pay by a state arbitrator's ruling in 2008.

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