Ron Frashour, the Portland Police officer who was fired from the force in November 2010 after he shot Aaron Campbell in the back with an assault rifle—killing the distraught, unarmed man outside his home in January 2010— may soon be reinstated into the police force.
According to the Oregonian, state arbitrator Jane Wilkinson ruled in favor of the Portland Police Association and that Frashour "should get his job back."
A key snippet from her ruling: "In the instant case, although Mr. Campbell had not committed a crime and displayed some behavior showing surrender and compliance (although this behavior was inconsistent), the Arbitrator concludes that it was reasonable to believe that he could be armed, and that when he ran, there was sufficient evidence for a finding that Mr. Campbell made motions that appeared to look like he was reaching for a gun."
Since his firing, the PPA and other Oregon police organizations have been working hard to win Frashour's job back, insisting that his shooting was justified. Just last month, the city settled with Campbell's family for $1.2 million—the most money the city's insurer has ever paid out for a claim against the Portland Police Bureau—and Mayor Sam Adams issued a public apology to the family.
Dan Handelman of Portland Copwatch says that although he doesn't know all of the details of the arbitration, he has a guess that it went along the lines of: "You can't fire this officer because you've never done it before." To that, he says: "I think if that's the way it happened, it means the process definitely needs to change."
The community is already reacting. Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform has scheduled a Monday, April 2 picket and news conference opposing the reinstatement of Frashour.
UPDATE: Mayor Sam Adams' office issued a press release in response to the arbitration. He doesn't seem too happy with the results. “I spoke with Aaron Campbell’s mother today and expressed my disappointment in today’s ruling,” Mayor Sam Adams said. “Chief Reese and I have been vocal about our stance on this case and we asked for this officer to be removed from service, based on the facts of the investigation and our policies. The City is reviewing all of its options, including whether we can appeal, and whether this is an award that is enforceable under state law.”