Adams refuses to rehire Frashour
Update: Police Chief disagrees with decision
Mayor Sam Adams announced Thursday afternoon that he will violate the state arbitrator's ruling and not rehire Ron Frashour, the officer who shot and killed Aaron Campbell.
Police Chief Mike Reese disagrees with the decision. Although Adams oversees Portland Police Bureau as Police Commission, Reese issed a statement saying, "I respectfully disagree with the Mayor's decision to appeal. Though I was disappointed and disagreed with the arbitrator's ruling, I respect the binding arbitration process. I have spoken to Mayor Adams and he understands my position; reasonable people can disagree on difficult issues such as this."
Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese had fired Frashor for violating bureau protocols when he shot Campbell in the back with a sniper rifle at the end of a long standoff at a Northeast Portland motel. Police had been told Campbell was armed, but he did not have a gun at the time of the shooting.
Adams says the Portland Police Association that represents rank-and-file bureau employees can file an unfair labor complaint against the city with the state Employment Relations Board, which would then hear the case.
PPA President Daryl Turner says the union has not yet decided whether to appeal the ruling to the ERB. The PPA released a statement accusing Adams of breaking the city's agreement to use binding arbitration to resolve personnel issues for political reasons, however.
The city paid Campbell's family $1.2 million to settle a federal wrongful death lawsuit in February.
Adams released the following statement explaining his decision:
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.
The City Attorney has determined under Oregon law 243.706(1) that the 'City has sufficient legal grounds to challenge the reinstatement of Office Frashour.'
The City Attorney states, 'This portion of the statute was adopted by the Oregon Legislature to limit the discretion of arbitrators and broaden the view of arbitrators decisions by the Employment Relations Board. [The Frashour] case is the type of case the statute was intended to address.'
Based on the City Attorney's opinion, I will not implement the Arbitrator's decision. If the Portland Police Association challenges my action, I will request that the ERB expedite their decision-making process on this matter.
I consulted with the City Attorney, outside counsel and the Police Chief extensively on this matter. I also listened to Officer Frashour's union representative's extensive statements and spoke with Campbell's family briefly. Their collective input was invaluable as I made this decision, and I thank them for sharing their thoughts.