Mayor Sam Adams this morning addressed reports he and Police Chief Mike Reese had recommended firing Ron Frashour, the police officer who fatally shot Aaron Campbell earlier this year.
Adams confirmed that, as of this morning, he and Reese have submitted their version of justice to the officers involved in the shooting—Frashour, along with Officer Ryan Lewton and Sgts. John Birkinbine and Liani Reyna.
But Adams also said he and Reese wouldn't say what their recommendations were, or whether they agreed with Use of Force Review Board recommendations that reportedly urged Frashour be fired, with the other three officers disciplined.
Instead, Adams said he would have to wait at least 30 days, a mandated period in which the officers will be given the chance to present evidence and argue for reduced punishments. Only then, after he and Reese have digested that information and made a final ruling, will he provide specifics.
"We have a responsibility to protect the impartiality and the fairness of this process," Adams told a small phalanx of reporters outside the City Council meeting, saying he thought the current process was done "more quickly" than most and more "thoughtful and thorough."
Reese also produced a statement, part of which follows:
My priority is to protect the integrity of due process and not discuss the proposed discipline. When final decisions are made, that information will be released to the community and as an organization, we will learn from this tragic incident.
I arrived at the proposed discipline by carefully reviewing the Detectives investigation, the Grand Jury transcripts, Internal Affairs review and transcripts, the Training Division's analysis and the Commander's findings and recommendations. I also received recommendations from the Use-of-Force Performance and Review Board, which is comprised of peer member officers and sergeants, Assistant Chiefs, Training Division personnel and community members educated in Bureau policies, practices and performance review procedures.
Adams acknowledged the pain and outrage of a community left grappling with several high-profile officer-involved shootings, three of them this year involving mentally ill men, but walked a fine, tightly scripted line with his rhetoric.
"Our job is to review these cases on the facts and an in an objective manner," he says.
Adams served under ex-Mayor Vera Katz when she was police commissioner, and I asked him whether an officer facing discipline had ever used the 30-day window to sway the mayor and chief. Presumably, there would be little new evidence that a review board didn't already consider.
He says it's happened before, but when pressed for a case, also said, "I don't remember." Even if Frashour really is fired, his case would go to arbitration. And arbitration is where firing recommendations go to die.