Rev. Jackson in Portland Tuesday at Maranatha to Protest Police Shooting
Lisa Loving Of The Skanner
February 15, 2010
The police shooting Jan. 29 of Aaron Campbell has attracted the attention of national civil rights advocates Al Sharpton, as well as Rev. Jesse Jackson, who will speak Tuesday, Feb. 16 at the Maranatha Church from 6 to 8 p.m.
A news conference is scheduled at 6 p.m., with a rally to follow inside the church, organized by the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform.
Sharpton, who will not be traveling to Portland, nevertheless will be looking into the case, according to a local chapter of his organization, the National Action Network.
Campbell was unarmed and dealing with an acute emotional crisis over the death of his younger brother that morning from heart problems. He shot in the back with an AR-15 rifle by Officer Ron Frashour, one of dozens of police called to the scene over concerns of an armed, suicidal man.
Portland Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Police Chief Rosie Sizer expressed regrets over the killing at a press conference Friday afternoon, where Saltzman announced a new directive for mental health counselors to work more closely with officers in mental health callouts.
“We are still pressing, with District Attorney Mike Schrunk, for the release of the transcripts of the Grand Jury investigation,” Saltzman said.
He added that he has ordered an independent investigation by outside experts into the tactics and policies followed by officers at the Campbell scene and “also to look further into how our officers are trained to handle these difficult situations.”
Saltzman said he has ordered the bureau to begin use of “ballistic shields” that would allow then to check on wounded people at shooting scenes, “so that we won’t have this situation of having to wait 20 to 45 minutes to assess the medical situation of somebody who’s been shot.”
After a nearly 90-minute standoff with police at his girlfriend’s apartment, including negotiations with a crisis counselor, Campbell was shot with beanbag rounds, attacked by a police dog and killed by a single shot to the back within one minute of exiting the apartment with his hands on his head.
He bled to death on the wet pavement of a parking lot after being left without medical care for more than 20 minutes, as police say they were unable to determine whether he was a danger. No gun was found on or near his body.
His girlfriend and her three small children, who had been in the apartment with him but apparently were never held hostage, had all left the building previously and were unharmed.
The incident came on the heels of three other recent high-profile police callouts that have raised public ire, including:
-- On Jan. 27, the self-immolation of a mentally ill man in downtown Portland, in which the responding officer accidentally emptied a large canister of pepper spray on the man to try dousing the flames, thinking it was a fire extinguisher;
--The Jan. 28 custody and injury of Portland Community College basketball player Delease Carter, allegedly stopped by Officers Scott Broughton and Derrick Foxworth Jr. because she was walking in the middle of North Michigan Avenue with two friends. Carter, whose case has already been forwarded to the Independent Police Review Committee, was thrown to the ground by the officers who said she was noncompliant. She then was cuffed, placed in a patrol car, and released without charge. She says she missed PCC’s game against Lane Community College that weekend because her coach thought she might have a concussion.
--As first reported by the Portland Mercury, the Dec. 7 arrest of Jamal Green, who is developmentally disabled and was inexplicably Tasered and by both Beaverton Police Officer Keith Welch and then again by Portland Police Officer Jack Blazer for not taking his hands out of his pockets. Green, who says he did not understand the officers’ commands and “just wanted to go home,” was booked at the Justice Center and released, then walked the five miles home in the freezing weather because he didn’t know he had the right to call his grandmother.
More than 100 supporters joined a picket line in front of the Justice Center Thursday morning for Campbell
Meanwhile, Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk made public an open letter of protest written by the members of the grand jury that this week exonerated the officer of criminal wrongdoing. The letter reveals new details of the incident that contradict previous statements by law enforcement in the case.
Schrunk’s office confirmed that the issue of releasing to the public the entire transcript of the grand jury’s investigation is pending before a judge next week and should be decided by Thursday, Feb. 18.