08-11-2020  12:50 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Portlanders Struggle to be Heard Amid Protests

The Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing Steering Committee will meet Tuesday, August 11, 2020 from 5:30 –7pm

Portland Protests Persist with Some Flashes of Violence

Tear gas was used by police on protesters Wednesday for the first time since the U.S. agents pulled back their presence

Reimagine Oregon Issues Equity Demands, Gains Legislative Support

Coalition of Black-led and Black-focused organizations takes new approach to concrete change 

Oregon Criminal Justice Commission: Initiative Petition 44 Will Nearly Eliminate Racial Disparities for Drug Arrests, Convictions

The initiative would expand access to drug addiction treatment and recovery services, and decriminalize low-level drug possession.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Housing and Community Services Awards $60,822,101 to Build and Preserve 802 Affordable Homes

Investments address the statewide shortage of affordable housing through the development and preservation of affordable rental homes. ...

Phase Two Re:Imagine Grant Deadline August 11

The fund focuses on supporting ten artists with grants of $5,000 as they reimagine their practices and pivot toward the...

U.S. Bank Announces $1 Million in Grants to Black-Led CDFIs; Additional Support for African American Alliance

A total of 15 CDFIs will receive grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 while the African American Alliance will receive...

Vote.org Holds #GoodTroublePledge Voter Registration Drive to Commemorate the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

2020 VRA anniversary observance to honor the memory of voting rights activist and late-Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) ...

White Democrats in Congress Falling Short on Reparations Bill

Democracy in Color releases “The White List” showing 79% of democratic House members haven’t cosigned HR 40 despite popular...

Lawmakers adjourn special session, restrict choke holds

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A measure further restricting the use of choke holds by police passed the Oregon Legislature by wide margins Monday night as lawmakers concluded a special session called to fix a billion-dollar budget deficit due to COVID-19.House Bill 4301 prohibits the use of choke holds...

Seattle police chief to resign following department cuts

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle's police chief says she is stepping down, a move made public the same day the City Council approved reducing the department by as many as 100 officers through layoffs and attrition.Carmen Best, the city’s first Black police chief, said in a letter to the...

LSU adds Missouri, Vanderbilt in revamped SEC schedule

Defending Southeastern Conference and national champion LSU will host Missouri and visit Vanderbilt in its expanded Southeastern Conference schedule, while Alabama will visit Mizzou and host Kentucky in league play revised by the coronavirus pandemic. The league on Friday released two additional...

Missouri's Drinkwitz takes side in mask-or-no-mask debate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz has been the head coach at Missouri for just over seven months. He has yet to lead the Tigers onto the football field, much less win a game, yet his role in the community already has forced him to take some important stands.First, it was supporting his new...

OPINION

Historians Offer Context, Caution on Lessons 1918 Flu Pandemic Holds for COVID

Scholars find parallels of inequitable suffering between pandemic of 1918 and pandemic of 2020 ...

US Reps Adams and DeFazio Call on Postmaster General to Resign

The legislators say Trump appointee Louis DeJoy is sabotaging the US Postal Service and could harm the election ...

Da 5 Bloods and America Abroad

Even before I returned to the United States from my combat tour in Vietnam, I had decided that we were fighting an unjust war. ...

Falling Behind: COVID, Climate Change, and Chaos

Multiple Crises, Multiple Obstacles ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Seattle police chief to resign following department cuts

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle's police chief says she is stepping down, a move made public the same day the City Council approved reducing the department by as many as 100 officers through layoffs and attrition.Carmen Best, the city’s first Black police chief, said in a letter to the...

Portland protesters rally as arrest of activist draws ire

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The arrest during protests in Portland, Oregon, of a Black woman who became a leading activist in the racial justice movement after she was assaulted by a white supremacist three years ago has galvanized local and national Black Lives Matter groups.More demonstrations...

Hockey makes progress in midst of awakening about racism

Anson Carter filled his time in pandemic isolation walking 11 miles a day, sometimes with his dogs, around his Atlanta neighborhood.When video surfaced of another Black man, Ahmaud Arbery, being shot and killed in nearby Glynn County, Georgia, Carter found himself looking over his shoulder. To use...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Don't shut up!' Film spotlights Filipino journalist

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Maria Ressa says she didn’t take Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte seriously when he declared four years ago that “corrupt” journalists weren’t “exempted from assassination.”“In 2016, it was really, really laughable. And...

Jolie seeks removal of private judge in Pitt divorce case

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Angelina Jolie asked Monday that the private judge overseeing her divorce from Brad Pitt be disqualified from the case because of insufficient disclosures of his business relationships with one of Pitt's attorneys. In a filing in Los Angeles Superior Court, Jolie argues...

Chris Pratt, Katherine Schwarzenegger greet baby daughter

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger say they are “beyond thrilled” and “extremely blessed" after she gave birth to their first child together. The 41-year-old ”Avengers” actor and the 30-year-old children’s book author...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Ganges River flows with history and prophecy for India

ALONG THE GANGES, India (AP) — More than 2,000 years ago, a powerful king built a fort on the banks of...

Voters will judge Omar's mix of progressivism and celebrity

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rep. Ilhan Omar is about to learn whether voters in her Minneapolis-area congressional...

Lebanese government resigns after Beirut blast, public anger

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s prime minister stepped down from his job Monday in the wake of the...

Taiwan says virus aid sent quietly to avoid Beijing protests

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan sent COVID-19 assistance to foreign countries surreptitiously to avoid...

Asia Today: India adds 53,000 new cases, Melbourne steadies

NEW DELHI (AP) — India reported 53,601 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday as its total infections neared 2.3...

El Salvador waits for president, congress to act on pandemic

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — If El Salvador President Nayib Bukele and the country’s congress...

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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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