Statement from Aaron Campbell's family on settlement with city - KPTV - FOX 12

Statement from Aaron Campbell's family on settlement with city

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The following is a Feb. 1, 2012, statement from the family of Aaron Campbell, who was shot and killed by a Portland police officer:


On behalf of the Campbell family, I am pleased to say that we have settled the
claims relating to Aaron's death for $1.2 million. We will now propose to the
probate court that a lion's share of these funds be held in trust for Aaron's children
until they are adults.


We are told that this is the most money that the City's insurer has ever paid out on
a claim against the Portland Police Bureau, although in truth it does not seem like
enough for the losses we have suffered. We are grateful, however, that we will not
have to relive the events of that awful time, and reopen those wounds again. We
are also grateful for the support that we have received from family, friends and
members of the community who have supported us throughout.

We take to heart that officer-involved shootings have gone down in Portland since
Aaron was killed, and choose to believe that in some measure, losing him has
made our community safer from hose we've armed with guns, and entrusted with
the community's safety.


However, this needs to be said. During the case, our attorneys uncovered some
very troubling information regarding our police policies and practices. First, we
are very disappointed with Police Chief Reese's refusal to add language to the
Police Bureau's use of force policy requiring in writing that officers take a person's
emotional upset or mental illness into consideration as a factor when making a
decision to use force. There is no good reason not to make this change.


Second, Chief Reese assured the public in disciplining the officers involved that
Police Bureau policy required that before shooting to kill, the facts and
circumstances must justify the conclusion that the citizen's behavior amounts to an
immediate threat to life. The Chief's investigation concluded that Aaron Campbell
clearly did not present such a danger to anyone. Compare this with the fact that
Officers Frashour and Lewton were going to call as witnesses at trial eleven of the
trainers who teach our officers the rules. All of these trainers were to testify under
oath that Chief Reese is wrong. To make this worse, the City was ready to
stipulate to this testimony. This disconnect between what the Police Bureau's
policy is supposed to mean and what officers are trained to do is dangerous, and
puts us all at risk.

And third, the Police Bureau took the position in defending this lawsuit that the
City was not responsible for Aaron's death, even though admitting the death
resulted from violation of its own bureau's policies. The City argued that the
officers didn't need to comply with Portland's policies, but need only comply with
broader state statutes regarding the use of force. Those statutes do not spell out
that use of deadly force requires an immediate danger to the life of others as
justification. Our city leaders need to address this duplicity and hold our police
force to its own rules and regulations.


And finally as a mother, I regrettably do not believe my living sons are safe. That
bond of community trust has been broken. I cannot say to them that if there is a
mental health crisis ... "call the police". We have asked our attorneys to contact
the United States Department of Justice to report these findings. Our hope is that
the information will be of help during its on-going investigation into the use of
deadly force in dealing with emotionally upset or mentally ill citizens in crisis, and
help reduce the danger to the most vulnerable among us.


We ask that the media and others respect our family's privacy as we have no
intention of making further comment at this time. Thank you.


Marva Davis on behalf of the family

 

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