This just in from attorney Tom Steenson:
On behalf of the Campbell family, I am pleased to say that we have settled the claims relating to Aaron's death for $1.2 million. We will now propose to the probate court that a lion's share of these funds be held in trust for Aaron's children until they are adults.
We are told that this is the most money that the City's insurer has ever paid out on a claim against the Portland Police Bureau, although in truth it does not seem like enough for the losses we have suffered. We are grateful, however, that we will not have to relive the events of that awful time, and reopen those wounds again. We are also grateful for the support that we have received from family, friends and members of the community who have supported us throughout.
We take to heart that officer-involved shootings have gone down in Portland since Aaron was killed, and choose to believe that in some measure, losing him has made our community safer from those we've armed with guns, and entrusted with the community's safety.
However, this needs to be said. During the case, our attorneys uncovered some very troubling information regarding our police policies and practices. First, we are very disappointed with Police Chief Reese's refusal to add language to the Police Bureau's use of force policy requiring in writing that officers take a person's emotional upset or mental illness into consideration as a factor when making a decision to use force. There is no good reason not to make this change.
Second, Chief Reese assured the public in disciplining the officers involved that Police Bureau policy required that before shooting to kill, the facts and
circumstances must justify the conclusion that the citizen's behavior amounts to an immediate threat to life. The Chief's investigation concluded that Aaron Campbell clearly did not present such a danger to anyone. Compare this with the fact that Officers Frashour and Lewton were going to call as witnesses at trial eleven of the trainers who teach our officers the rules. All of these trainers were to testify under oath that Chief Reese is wrong. To make this worse, the City was ready to stipulate to this testimony. This disconnect between what the Police Bureau's policy is supposed to mean and what officers are trained to do is dangerous, and puts us all at risk.
And third, the Police Bureau took the position in defending this lawsuit that the City was not responsible for Aaron's death, even though admitting the death resulted from violation of its own bureau's policies. The City argued that the officers didn't need to comply with Portland's policies, but need only comply with broader state statutes regarding the use of force. Those statutes do not spell out that use of deadly force requires an immediate danger to the life of others as justification. Our city leaders need to address this duplicity and hold our police force to its own rules and regulations.
And finally as a mother, I regrettably do not believe my living sons are safe. That bond of community trust has been broken. I cannot say to them that if there is a mental health crisis ... "call the police". We have asked our attorneys to contact the United States Department of Justice to report these findings. Our hope is that the information will be of help during its on-going investigation into the use of deadly force in dealing with emotionally upset or mentally ill citizens in crisis, and help reduce the danger to the most vulnerable among us.
We ask that the media and others respect our family's privacy as we have no intention of making further comment at this time. Thank you.
Marva Davis on behalf of the family