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Appeals court orders officer who shot Aaron Campbell to be reinstated

UPDATE: Civil rights group schedules protest at City Hall for 11:30 a.m. Thursday

The Oregon Court of Appeals has overturned Portland's decision to terminate Ron Frashour, the police officer who fatal shot Aaron Campbell, an unarmed African-American, after a lengthy standoff on Jan. 29, 2010.

Frashour was terminated on Nov. 16, 2010. Mayor Charlie Hales says he will be returned to duty but deplored the ruling.

“I am disappointed the court blocked the City’s efforts to terminate an officer who used force inappropriately,” Hales said in a written statement. “The City of Portland takes use-of-force seriously, and demands that it be employed judiciously. Portland Police Bureau training emphasizes de-escalation, and while the vast majority of our officers perform exceptionally well, incidents like the tragic death of Aaron Campbell undermine that success. 

But Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner says the ruling proves Frashour did not violate bureau rules or policies when he shot Campbell, who appeared to be reaching for his waistband while surrounded by officers outside a Northeast Portland motel.

"The events of January 29, 2010, were a tragedy for the Campbell family and the City. It was wrong, though, to compound that tragedy with political decision-making that disregarded the facts of what occurred that night. What we need now is to focus on the process of continuing to heal our relationship with the communities we serve as we move forward," Turner said in a written statement.

The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform has scheduled a protest at City Hall for 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

"The Coalition demands that Frashour be assigned to a job or shift at the Bureau that requires the least contact with the public as possible, because of the potential that he may do harm to community members," the groups said in a late Wednesday press release.

According to the Mayor's Office, when he returns to work, Frashour will be assigned to the Training Division for reorientation training. He will then be assignment to the Training Division will be for as long as required for him to be fully reoriented into the bureau. His assignment at the completion of training will be determined at a later time.

The shooting prompted then-Mayor Sam Adams and Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman to request the U.S. Department of Justice review the Portland Police Bureau's use of force against minorities and the mentally ill. The review concluded the police have a history of using excessive force against the mentally ill and the city settled by agreeing to a series of reforms.

“Every day officers avoid using force by de-escalating tense and dangerous situations; the number of times police use force has declined by 37 percent since 2010, and represents just 3 percent of arrests today," Hales said.