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Adams to fight Frashour reinstatement

Mayor will ask City Council to appeal Employment Relations Board ruling


Mayor Sam Adams says he will ask the City Council to appeal the state Employment Relations Board decision ordering the reinstatement of Portland Police Officer Ron Frashour.

Adams fired Frashour for shooting Aaron Campbell, an unarmed African-American man, in the back after a lengthy police standoff at a Northeast Portland apartment complex in January 2010. Frashour testified he believed Campbell was armed and reaching for a gun in his waistband. Police had previously been told Campbell was armed.

A state mediator ruled that Frashour should be reinstated.

The city refused to comply with the ruling, prompting the Portland Police Association to appeal to ERB.

Adams posted the following statement Monday on his City Hall website:

Dear Portlander,

In April, I told you that I believe that Officer Ron Frashour violated our policy and training protocols regarding allowed use of deadly force in the case of Aaron Campbell. I further explained that in our City Attorney’s opinion, we had sufficient legal grounds to challenge the reinstatement of Officer Frashour. I did not implement the Arbitrator’s decision then and the Portland Police Association challenged my actions, taking the case back to the Employment Relations Board (ERB).

ERB just came back with its decision, which is to enforce the arbitration award and reinstate Officer Frashour.

This is no surprise to me. There is no precedent for a case like this. As noted on page 18 of the ERB ruling, a case such as this has never been tested in court and it has never been adequately challenged.

I will recommend to my fellow commissioners to appeal this decision and take it to a court of law. It is time we test what we believe to be true: that the City Council and Police Commissioner, along with the Chief of Police, should be the ones who set the code of conduct and discipline for our Police Bureau, not unions or its connected institutions.

To reiterate what I said April 12, 2012: As Police Commissioner, I have deep respect for the often dangerous and difficult work of the men and women of the Portland Police Bureau. I have been quick to praise the Bureau’s great work, even in the face of criticism. I have backed that praise with tangible support: I prevented deeper budget cuts than those faced by other City Bureaus, implemented new legal enforcement tools to keep illegal guns off our streets and approved a new training facility.

As Police Commissioner, I am also responsible for holding accountable those who fail to follow Bureau policies; one such policy is Portland’s procedures for the acceptable use of deadly force. Our standards for the allowed use of deadly force are more restrictive than national standards and the local standards of other police departments. Our policy and training requires Portland Police Officers to use restraint when we receive a call to check on a person’s well being, as was the case with Aaron Campbell. I believe Frashour violated our policy and training protocols regarding allowed use of deadly force.

I promised in April that I will take this case as far as I can: it’s that important. I will consult with my council colleagues and I hope that they will feel as strongly as I do that we need to take this case to a court of law to get the hearing that it deserves.