The ruling, issued last month by the Department of Public Safety Standards (DPSST) and Training, is a defeat for the city of Portland, which filed paperwork with the state office claiming that Frashour's firing was "for cause" and should result in him losing his certification. The Mercury obtained the documents through a public records request.
The decision means Frashour is free to take on other police/security work—something he told DPSST he was attempting to do, according to the documents. And it marks the second time since Frashour's November firing by Police Chief Mike Reese that a state agency has sided against the city on further punishing Frashour—another boost for his argument before an arbitrator that the city fired him unjustly.
The Mercury broke the news earlier this month that the state Employment Department decided to award Frashour unemployment insurance, despite the city's attempt to deny him what could amount to nearly $500 a week in benefits. Frashour has an arbitration hearing scheduled for September, sources say.
"You now have had three neutral bodies take a look at this case," said one observer following the case, also counting the Multnomah County grand jury—which criticized the bureau in Campbell's January 29, 2010, shooting but did not indict Frashour, "and all of them, admittedly applying their own rule, have found that Ron Frashour did nothing wrong."
DPSST concluded right away that Frashour's actions in Campbell's shooting didn't fall under three of the five criteria it uses when deciding to revoke certification: "Dishonesty," "incompetence," and "misuse of authority." Analysts looked more deeply at whether Frashour "disregarded the rights of others" or was culpable for "gross misconduct"—but still decided he hadn't done either of those things, either.
The analysts say they based their ruling on the grand jury's letter to the bureau, as well as on a look at Frashour's discipline letter and several other documents posted online by the bureau. To buttress their decision, they cited liberally from the grand jury's letter.
Of the three independent lenses on Frashour's conduct in the Campbell shooting, DPSST's is the closest to what an arbitrator might apply. But an arbitrator also must judge whether Frashour's firing is justified under the city's deadly-force policy—a fairly narrow question that DPSST said it didn't consider.
The Portland Police Association, which is defending Frashour in his arbitration, has repeatedly insisted that Frashour was justified in shooting Campbell, saying he genuinely believed the unarmed, suicidal Campbell was reaching for a weapon. That point also swayed the grand jury against indicting Frashour.
In reality, Campbell was reacting to a beanbag shot fired at his back, all because he wouldn't put his hands over what another officer believed was the correct part of his head. Reese's discipline letter noted that Frashour never considered that possibility—a violation of bureau policy that requires officers to consider the "totality of circumstances" before using deadly force.
"It'd be nice to see him decertified. But he's not an officer in Portland right now, and hoepflly he'll stay not an officer in Portland," says Dan Handelman of Portland Copwatch. "And that was one of goals of the movement demanding accountability for what happened."