PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Black leaders in Portland and the mayor on Friday said they welcomed a U.S. Justice Department civil rights investigation into the shooting of an unarmed Black man by a White police officer.
Black leaders also said the inquiry should look into what they said is a pattern of inequality in Oregon's largest city.
``We want to be very clear. We want this investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division,'' said Joyce Harris, co-chair of the African American Alliance in Portland.
``We do not want any local investigation because historically, local investigations -- I don't care who they were conducted by -- have never, never rendered a decision that held anyone accountable for the death of Black people in this community,'' Harris said.
City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Police Bureau, said that U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer sent a letter Friday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to personally review the investigation.
``So it's going to the top of the top of the U.S. Department of Justice,'' Saltzman said.
U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton said Thursday that his office in Oregon and the FBI had launched a preliminary inquiry into the Jan. 29 shooting death of Aaron Campbell.
Mayor Sam Adams said Friday at the news conference that he understands many Black residents of Portland fear police and it was a problem long before the shooting death.
``That's why I thought it was particularly significant when the chief of police of this city, and rare for any chief of police for any city, came before the city council and said we are all vulnerable to profiling, stereotyping, prejudging -- based on race and a whole host of other factors,'' Adams said.
The mayor also said Portland suffers from economic disparity between White and minority residents, and he pledged to find ways to overcome that gap as the city prepares its 25-year plan.
``The conversation about the disparate quality of life in our city is decades overdue,'' Adams said. ``There is a distinction about the access to that quality of life based on race,'' adding ``we can deal with this, we can make progress.''
Adams and Saltzman said the city is carefully reviewing police policy and procedure, including communications and equipment, involving mental health professionals at the scene, and deployment of the AR-15 rifle.
Officer Ron Frashour shot Campbell in the back with a rifle after police responded to calls from relatives that he was upset and suicidal after the death of his younger brother, Timothy Douglass, following a long illness.
Police Chief Rosie Sizer on Tuesday released a 631-page report on the shooting filled with police interviews of officers and witnesses.
On Thursday, transcripts of testimony before a Multnomah County grand jury that cleared Frashour of any wrongdoing were released after District Attorney Michael Schrunk asked a judge to make them public.
The reports -- and an unusual letter from the grand jury to Schrunk that was highly critical of police -- suggest a breakdown in police communication at the apartment building where Campbell, 25, had been drinking and had threatened suicide to his girlfriend, even taking out a .22-caliber pistol and pointing it at his head.
The girlfriend and her three children, including two of Campbell's, had been safely removed from the scene and a police officer had been negotiating with Campbell by cell phone and texting, hoping to end the standoff without incident.
But Campbell emerged from the apartment with his hands on his head while the police sergeant in command was briefing her superiors around the corner of the building. One officer reacted by firing beanbag rounds, another released a police dog and a third -- Frashour -- fired the fatal shot as Campbell appeared to be running away or back to the apartment.
Campbell was unarmed but police left him lying on the ground for more than 30 minutes before a special weapons unit arrived to confirm it. The state medical examiner's office said it was unlikely Campbell would have survived even if he gotten immediate attention.