City attorney's office researching possible appeal of state arbitrator's ruling
Portland Mayor Sam Adams says he intends to challenge the reinstatement of fired police officer Ron Frashour, but admits the city attorney's office is still researching how to fight the decision.
Adams told reporters Monday afternoon, minutes after the end of an emotional rally outside City Hall by protesters demanding that Frashour not be reinstated, that he hoped to appeal the ruling to the state Employment Relations Board. The process is complicated by the fact that the arbitrator's ruling is binding under state laws government public safety employee contracts.
Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese fired Frashour for violating bureau protocols by shooting Aaron Campbell in the back after a lengthy standoff with police. A state arbitrator ruled Friday that Frashour followed protocols and ordered that he reinstated.
'The paths are narrow and unusual, but we are studying what avenues are available to us,' said Adams, who expects to have an answer in a few days on how the city will appeal the decision.
Adams said he was disappointed with the arbitrator's ruling and believed the decision to fire Frashour was legally correct. He admitted that police bureau training officers who testified before the arbitrator said Frashour followed protocols. They were called by the Portland Police Association, which appealed the firing.
'There's nothing the city can do to prevent its employees from expressing their personal and professional decisions,' Adams said.
In February, the city paid $1.2 million to settle a federal wrongful death civil rights lawsuit filed by Campbell's family.
During Monday's protest, John Davis, Aaron Campbell's father, deplored the recent state arbitrator's ruling and said he hoped Frashour did not get his job back.
'I don't disagree with the job of a police officer, but I disagree with the way it's sometimes done around here,' Davis told more than 100 people who demanded that Adams not reinstate Frashour and appeal the decision.
Frashour killed Campbell in January 2010 with a single rifle shot to the back after a lengthy standoff with police at a Northeast Portland apartment complex. A Multnomah County grand jury cleared Frashour of any criminal charges but Adams and Reese fired him for not following bureau policies.
The Portland Police Association appealed the firing, which was overturned Friday.
The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform organized Monday's protest. Other speakers included the Rev. LeRoy Haynes, the Rev. T. Allen Bethel and retired attorney Tom Steenson, who represented the Campbell family in a federal wrongful death lawsuit.
Several speakers called for changes to the police bureau's training division and state arbitration policies to allow community members to testify in such cases.