U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is being urged by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer to personally look into the Portland Police shooting of Aaron Campbell.
The FBI and U.S. Department of Justice started their preliminary investigation last Tuesday at the request of Chief Rosie Sizer, and the results will be forwarded to the Civil Rights division within three weeks, according to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney Dwight Holden.
Mayor Sam Adams and Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman stood together with Joyce Harris and Lolenzo Poe of the African American Alliance, Rev. T. Allen Bethel of the Albina Ministerial Alliance and Urban League of Portland President Marcus Mundy at a press conference Friday to announce they are all standing together in support of the federal investigation.
"We do not want any local investigation because historically, local investigations – I don't care who they were conducted by – have not led to justice for anyone in the Black community," Harris told a full room of radio, television and newspaper reporters.
"I do not believe this investigation will find any civil rights violations, but I believe it must occur, it is part of what we need to heal," Saltzman said.
He confirmed that Officer Ronald Frashour, who pulled the trigger on the AR-15 rifle that killed Campbell with one shot to the back, is in a "sort of a desk job," and has not yet returned to patrol duty. It is unclear when a decision will be made on Frashour's future, Saltzman said, as officials are still sifting through hundreds of pages of documents on the Jan. 28 shooting.
Adams consistently linked the Campbell tragedy to the larger issue of economic inequality facing communities of color in Portland, and vowed to invest more city resources into what he called the underlying issues leading to the 25-year-old man's death.
"Why we are dealing with this present situation differently is because we do want to get at the issues that have been raised over and over again by communities of color and the African American community," he said.
"We raised the issue of quality of life before this incident," Adams said. "That is where I will continue to take the lead but it is also a council-wide issue."
Saltzman reiterated his new policy requiring that mental health professionals accompany police called to any scene involving subjects in mental crisis.
"It is an outrage that our police and our jails have become the front line for our mental health system," he said.
Saltzman also said he has begun an immediate "top to bottom" review of the chain of events that led to Campbell's death. He said not providing medical assistance in a timely manner was "clearly a mistake."
Harris said the decision of the African American Alliance to reach out to city leadership to support an outside investigation of Campbell's shooting was an outgrowth of the organization's Community Unity Breakfast, held Thursday morning.
Saltzman, Chief Sizer, members of the AMA and Portland Police Union President Scott Westerman all attended.
Attendees had a frank exchange of views with Westerman, Harris said, but ultimately "agreed to disagree."
"He responded to some very hard questions by the individuals who were there," she said. "We are still looking at some very different vantage points."