1 in 6 people has a common mental illness at some point in their life (Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, 2000).
About 1% of the population experience schizophrenia at some point in their lives (Mental Health Foundation, 1999).
About 1% of the population experience manic depression at some point in their lives (Mental Health Foundation, 1999).
1 in 200 people have experienced a psychotic illness in the last year (Singleton, Psychiatric Morbidity, 2000).
The average age of onset of psychotic symptoms is 22 (Department of Health, 2001)
Deprived areas and rural districts have the highest levels of mental health problems and suicides (ONS, 2001).
People from Afro-Caribbean backgrounds are 3-5 times more likely than others to be diagnosed and admitted to hospital for schizophrenia. (Mental Health Foundation, 1999)
About 25% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia will make a full recovery; about 60% of people will have fluctuating symptoms; about 10-15% of people experience long term incapacity (Mental Health Foundation, 1999).
35% of people with mental illness are unemployed but want to work (ONS, 2003), the highest want to work rate of any disability.
Only 1 in 4 employers said that they would knowingly employ someone with a history of mental illness (Manning et al, 1995).
Three quarters of employers say that it would be difficult or impossible to employ someone diagnosed with schizophrenia (DWP, 2003).
Less than 5% of people who kill a stranger have symptoms of mental illness (Department of Health, 2001).
People with mental illness are more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators of violence (Walsh, 2003).
More than 1 in 4 people with severe mental illness report being shunned when seeking help (Rethink, 2003).
30% of GPs’ time is spent with people with mental health problems (Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (Maudsley Monograph, 2002).
44% of people with mental health problems report discrimination from general practioners, such as physical health problems not being taken seriously (Mental Health Foundation, 2002).
Almost 80% of carers for someone with a severe mental illness say that caring has had an impact on own their mental health (Rethink, 2003).
Almost 80% of carers for someone with a severe mental illness say that caring has had an impact on their own physical health (Rethink, 2003).
Only 48% of mental health professionals know about local policies on sharing information with carers (Rethink/IoP, 2006).
Mental health problems cost the economy untold billions per year through care costs, economic losses and premature death. (Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, 2003).
21% of people with schizophrenia have a dual diagnosis (Cantwell, 2003).
Up to half of people dependent on alcohol have a mental health problem (Turning Point, 2003).
People with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder die 10 years younger due to physical health problems (British Journal of Psychiatry, 2000) and have double the average rate of heart disease (British Journal of Psychiatry, 2006) and five times the average rate of diabetes (Department of Health, 2004).
People with severe mental illness smoke twice as much as average, do half as much exercise and eat less fruit and vegetables than average (Running on empty report, 2005).
Kendra James 10 Years Later Memorial Vigil To Remember Woman Slain by Police in 2003 Sunday, May 5, 2013, 5:00 PM 931 N Skidmore
On Sunday, May 5, the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform will lead a memorial vigil for Kendra James, the young woman killed by Officer Scott McCollister exactly 10 years ago on the Skidmore overpass in Portland. The memorial will be held outside the Greater Faith Baptist Church at 931 N Skidmore, just yards away from the spot where McCollister discharged his pistol at James, who was behind the wheel of a car. The vigil will begin at 5 PM. Members of James’ family will be in attendance.
Despite McCollister’s claims that he “feared for his life,” the AMA Coalition presented a detailed analysis that McCollister was not in any danger, knew who the unarmed Kendra James was and could have found her even if she had driven away, and raised serious questions about whether he had collaborated with the other officers on the scene by meeting at a restaurant to get their stories straight before they talked to investigators. McCollister was given 180 days’ suspension,
but that discipline was overturned by an arbitrator after the Portland Police Association grieved the action.
James’ death was a touchstone for many in Portland who saw the shooting of an unarmed African American woman as a symptom of a Police Bureau needing major reforms. In many ways her death led the accountability efforts down the path to the changes now being sought as a remedy by the Department of Justice in their lawsuit against the City.
The event is endorsed by Portland Copwatch and other community organizations. For more information or if your group wishes to endorse, call Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Jr at 503-287-0261.
The Albina Ministerial Alliance Tuesday afternoon filed a motion in federal court to intervene in the city agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice governing Portland police reforms.
Eds. Note: The motion for intervention was filed by the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform – not the Albina Ministerial Alliance. The AMA Coalition is a project of the AMA, but also includes other organizations and individuals which are not members of the AMA, including Disabity Rights Oregon, the Oregon chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, the Mental Health Association of Portland, and Portland Copwatch which is a project of Peace and Justice Works.
The alliance seeks to intervene as a plaintiff in the pending case United States of America v. City of Portland.
The alliance argued that the settlement agreement failed to address concerns raised about police use of force against people of color; lacks strict restrictions on police use of Tasers and provides no formal process for court oversight once an agreement is signed.
“Thus it is critical that an intervener representing the public’s interests be part of this process,” attorneys J. Ashlee Albies and Shauna Curphey wrote in a motion on behalf of the alliance.
The alliance is a group of 125 Portland-area churches that has been engaged in social justice work since the 1970s. The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform was founded in 2003 after the officer-involved fatal shooting of Kendra James.
“The AMA Coalition, with its diversity and deep roots in the communities most affected by the Portland Police Bureau’s excessive use of force against people with mental illness and persons of color, and long history of police reform advocacy in Portland is best suited to represent the interests of the community as an intervenor,” the attorneys wrote in a memorandum in support of its motion.
The Albina Ministerial Alliance submitted to the court a chart of shootings over the past decade. Its research found that at least 30 percent of the 61 people shot at or killed by Portland police were people of color, in a city that is almost 79 percent white. Of those 61 people, 14, or 23 percent were African American, according to the Alliance’s court filing. Twenty-two of the 61 people, or 36 percent, were unarmed, according to the alliance’s analysis.
Tuesday was the deadline for any person or group to file a motion to intervene in the case.
The Portland Police Association is the other group to have sought such intervention.
The U.S. Department of Justice and City of Portland have until Jan. 22 to respond to the motions.
U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon will hold a hearing Feb. 19 to rule on them.
The court filings stem from the U.S. Department of Justice’s nearly 15-month investigation into use of force by Portland police. The inquiry found police engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force against people suffering from or perceived to have a mental illness.
The settlement, approved by the City Council on Nov. 14, calls for widespread changes to Portland police policies on use of force, Tasers, training, supervision and oversight. A community liaison official would be hired to oversee the agreement, under the settlement. A federal judge would maintain jurisdiction over the agreement, and could be asked to intervene if the agreement is not followed.
The Portland Police Association also has filed a motion to intervene. In court papers filed last month, the police union argues that the negotiated changes to Portland police policies and procedures undermine the collective bargaining rights of union members.
The union cited a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals case that allowed the Los Angeles Police Protective League to intervene in a consent decree before the federal court on Los Angeles police reforms in 2002.
Members of the public will be able to participate in a so-called “fairness hearing” before the federal judge at a future time to express their opinions on whether the negotiated settlement is “fair, adequate and reasonable.” No date has been set for that public hearing.
Clackamas County has people willing to listen if you are facing traumatic thoughts following Tuesday’s deadly shooting at the Clackamas Town Center.
County health workers encourage anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or traumatic stress to call the Clackamas County Crisis Line at 503-655-8585.
Experts say traumatic stress is a normal response to an abnormal situation affected by the body’s effort to make meaning out of a senseless act.
Mild symptoms of traumatic stress can be helped by maintaining healthy routines like spending time with family and friends, exercise, good nutrition and hydration. If symptoms of stress interfere with daily routines, it can be useful to seek help from a mental health clinician or family doctor.
Getting assistance or information early can often prevent symptoms from getting worse.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any troubling symptoms or stress or a potential mental health crisis, again, call the hotline at 503-655-8585.
If you are not experiencing a crisis but would like to talk to a peer counselor, call the David Romprey Warm Line at 1-800-698-2392.
Clackamas County’s Centerstone Clinic also provides urgent mental health walk-in services. It is located in the Rose Center near the Clackamas Town Center at 11211 SE 82nd Ave., Suite O, Happy Valley.
The clinic is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information go to the clinic’s website.
Mall shooting will impact community’s mental health
The Clackamas Town Center shootings Tuesday will have a lasting impact on the mental health of the region’s residents, mental health professionals say.
Tuesday’s rampage by 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts left two dead and directly touched the 10,000 people estimated to be in the 1.37-million-square-foot Happy Valley shopping center.
In the short term, people directly exposed to the violence will experience trauma. That will spread to the community as more information is released, said Mark Lewinsohn, vice president for clinical services at LifeWorks Northwest, a Portland nonprofit providing mental health and other services throughout the region.
Christopher Krenk, president and CEO of Albertina Kerr
In the longer run, Lewinsohn said the jarring images could affect the public’s sense of safety, particularly in large, enclosed malls.
“It could have an effect on the willingness to go to large shopping malls,” he said.
But on a positive note, Lewinsohn said Tuesday’s events could have a unifying effect on the community and the agencies that work with people in crisis.
“It makes us look at our crisis response systems,” he said. “It kind of gives us all a chance to regroup and make sure that our systems are working and that we communicate.”
Christopher Krenk, president and CEO of Albertina Kerr, watched news of the shootings on CNN while representing CareOregon at a health care conference in Florida. The nonprofit Albertina Kerr supports people with mental health challenges as well as developmental disabilities.
Krenk said the Oregon delegation spoke of little else over dinner.
Krenk speculated — correctly — that the killer would prove to be a young man, following the pattern of other seemingly random shootings.
The transition into adulthood can be rocky, he said, citing Albertina Kerr’s work to help those with intellectual disabilities ease into adulthood.
“It supports the notion that we should support our mental health services,” he said. “To the extent that the community funds and supports people who are struggling, we generate better outcomes.”
Clackamas Town Center shooting: Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon responds
Rev. LeRoy Haynes, President of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
Rev. LeRoy Haynes, President of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
The president of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, the Rev. LeRoy Haynes, issued a statement today after Tuesday’s shooting at Clackamas Town Center. Three people, including the alleged gunman, died and one teenager has been hospitalized.
The statewide association of churches “laments” the shooting “in the midst of the season of hope and joy,” said Haynes, who is senior pastor of Allen Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Northeast Portland.
Haynes addressed the question on many people minds: Why did this happen?
“Causes of these tragedies can be complex, including lack of resources to recognize and treat mental illness, easy availability of military-grade weapons, and the culture of violence permeating our society,” he said.
“At this time in our society, we must be willing to tackle these hard issues together in order to foster healing and help prevent future tragedies.”
The remainder of the statement reads:
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon calls upon all houses of worship to pray for the victims’ families and loved ones, and for the perpetrator’s family who are suffering now.
We give thanks for the police, emergency professionals, and mall staff for their courage and quick response, making clear that we will not be paralyzed by fear in the face of sudden violence.
We also acknowledge the importance of pastoral care and mental health services for all those impacted by this tragedy, and we give thanks for everyone who is part of the healing process.
In the past three decades, Portland police chiefs have fired officers who were convicted of driving drunk off duty, leaving dead animals outside a black-owned business, and selling “Smoke ‘Em, Don’t Choke ‘Em” T-shirts to officers after a man died in police custody from a neck hold.
The chiefs had to bring them all back.
More recently, an arbitrator overturned the firing of Officer Ron Frashour for fatally shooting an unarmed man [Aaron Campbell] in the back; the 80-hour suspensions for Officer Chris Humphreys and Sgt. Kyle Nice following the death of James P. Chasse Jr.; and the 900-hour suspension of Officer Scott McCollister for his actions leading up to his fatal shooting of Kendra James.
So just what does it take to discipline a Portland police officer?
Frankly, if push comes to shove and it goes to arbitration, you can’t do it.
Police leaders complain that they can’t effectively manage their work force when decisions are second-guessed and overturned.
Police union representatives say the percentage of discipline cases they challenge is small. And they’re right; in the past 10 years, 12 discipline cases in the nearly 1,000-member police force ended up in arbitration. An arbitrator overturned the discipline in half; the others await a hearing or a ruling.
But the cases that reach arbitration usually are high profile and involve the most egregious conduct, tactics leading to the use of deadly force or, in Frashour’s case, the use of such force. They tend to be those that reflect most poorly on the agency and anger the public, which seeks accountability for bad actors.
The result of repeated rulings overturning discipline has left those responsible for trying to command the largest municipal police force in Oregon feeling powerless.
“It’s frustrating. It’s very hard to lead an organization like that,” said Brian Martinek, a former Vancouver police chief who served as an assistant chief in Portland during the Chasse case and Frashour’s shooting of Aaron Campbell.
Once discipline comes down, union leaders frequently are in command staff’s faces, he said, taunting that, “We’re just going to kick your butt anyways, like we always have.”
The Oregonian reviewed 14 Portland police arbitration decisions since 1981 and found that discipline usually was overturned because either the bureau did a shoddy investigation or the arbitrator picked apart a chief’s decision with a grab-bag of objections: Similar misconduct by officers in the past hadn’t drawn such discipline, police policies were unclear or none governed the alleged misconduct, bureau instructors testified that an officer had acted as trained, or the officer had a prior clean record.
Darrel W. Stephens, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, said Portland’s experience is not unique.
“Quite frankly, arbitrators find it very difficult to take the police officer’s livelihood away,” said Stephens, who served as chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and teaches at Johns Hopkins University’s Public Safety Leadership Program. “The unions may win these things, but they’re not helping the organization. The community loses confidence in the police, and within the department, it undermines the whole process of discipline.”
Portland’s police union lawyers say the rank-and-file accept most discipline, and the union takes only strong cases to an arbitrator when it’s clear an officer was wronged. Further, they say many serious discipline cases don’t stand up because they were politically motivated.
“I grant you, it’s not the perception of the public” said Will Aitchison, who served as Portland Police Association lawyer for 32 years, “but the fact is, it is very rare to find the city’s police union challenging a police termination.”
Mark Iris, who served for 21 years as executive director of the Chicago Police Board and has written about arbitration rulings in Chicago and Houston, said he’d expect serious discipline — which has gone through several layers of review, including grand jury, criminal and internal inquiries — to be upheld once it got to arbitration in at least 75 to 80 percent of cases. But that’s not happening nationally.
Over time, he said, such reversals can have a “corrosive effect” on an agency’s disciplinary process, “erode the deterrent value of discipline” and cause the public to lack confidence in the ability of an agency to control its people.
One need only look at the remarks of the Rev. LeRoy Haynes, chairman of the Albina Ministerial Alliance’s Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, who helped lead a protest outside City Hall after an arbitrator ordered Frashour back on the force.
“This decision says that those who are elected, that they cannot hold police officers in this city accountable,” he bellowed from City Hall’s steps. “It says any police officer can do what they want to do. … It means we cannot trust our police department.”
The arbitrator’s ruling that dismissed former Chief Mark Kroeker‘s 900-hour suspension of McCollister reads as a template for how arbitration has worn down Portland police discipline. The litany of reasons for overturning the suspension have popped up in multiple Portland arbitration decisions since. Kroeker had ruled McCollister should not have put himself in such a precarious position by reaching into a moving car to try to stop Kendra James from driving off, only to fatally shoot her in 2003.
Kroeker testified that he recognized the unusually long suspension was “ground-breaking” in the bureau, and said he issued it to “send a message to the officer and to the organization” that McCollister’s tactics were faulty, and led to the use of deadly force.
“Policing is the kind of profession where the employer must be able to exercise its subjective judgment in making disciplinary decisions; so long as that subjective judgment is exercised in good faith, the arbitrator should not second guess the disciplinary decisions and sanctions imposed,” Kroeker argued.
But the union quickly cited two cases in which officers had reached into moving vehicles without facing such harsh discipline.
One involved a highly respected officer, Mike Stradley, who climbed entirely into a moving van to take a suspect into custody and ended up firing his Taser while the van was traveling 80 mph through a city neighborhood. A written reprimand was proposed. The other case involved then-Officer Jim Lawrence, who shot and killed a suspect while reaching into the open window of a moving van and being dragged. He received no discipline.
The McCollister discipline was further derailed because no internal affairs investigation was ever done. Instead, the bureau relied solely on the detectives’ criminal inquiry, which the union pointed out was contrary to past practice. For a final blow, all the bureau training instructors testified that McCollister had acted as trained, and no policy existed then that restricted an officer from reaching in to a moving vehicle.
Once McCollister’s suspension was reversed, the arbitrator ordered the city to make McCollister whole not only for his back pay, but also include 1.88 hours of overtime for each week he was suspended. The union said the city must compensate him for what he “would have earned.”
“The arbitrator can always find an excuse that on its face looks potentially plausible,” Iris said.
Stephens said arbitrators can’t expect agencies to have a policy for every conceivable act of misconduct. “Some of it just has to be about common sense,” he said.
Aitchison counters that chiefs can’t discipline officers based on a standard of conduct that’s not trained. “Cops just want to know what the rules are,” he said.
Typically, only the union can decide to challenge an officer’s discipline before an arbitrator; officers can’t do so on their own. The union’s executive board votes and a majority rules. A list of arbitrators is sent to the city and union, and each side alternately strikes names off the list; the last name remaining gets the assignment.
Critics say arbitrators are well aware that if they routinely side with management, the union won’t pick them again, or vice-versa.
“The last one left standing gets the commission, gets the job,” Iris said. “I think arbitrators rein themselves in so they’re chosen the next time.”
Observers also note that Aitchison, a nationally recognized police labor attorney, historically has run circles around city attorneys.
“In many places that’s true,” Iris said. “The attorney for the union is savvy, experienced and capable, and the city lawyers are vastly overmatched.”
To make sure discipline issued by police managers is not arbitrary but consistent and fair, police consultants have recommended agencies adopt what’s called a disciplinary matrix. It would set disciplinary guidelines for a variety of violations or misconduct, intended to give officers and police managers a sense of what to expect. A few U.S. police agencies have adopted matrixes, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, Phoenix and Washington State Patrol.
Portland police are setting up a work group to consider such a matrix.
Beyond that, criminal justice experts have urged police departments to do as much as possible to limit disciplinary problems by setting high standards for hiring with effective screening of applicants, ensuring training is aligned with bureau policy and clear expectations, and there’s strong street-level supervision. Also, they stressed the importance of disciplining officers soon after the alleged mistake.
Upon learning that the Chasse arbitration ruling this week had come 5 1/2 years after his death, Stephens said: “That’s crazy! By the time you get to that point, any impact you intended the discipline to have is long gone.”
There’s no magic answer, Iris said.
“In some cases,” he said. “You basically have to gnash your teeth.”
Members of the Albina Ministerial Alliance and others gathered outside City Hall today to protest an arbitrator’s ruling that ordered Ronald Frashour be reinstated as a Portland police officer.
Some carried signs that read “No more immunity for shooting up community” and “Accountability Now.” Others shouted: “Frashour has got to go” and “No more killer cops.”
The arbitrator concluded that the city of Portland lacked cause to fire Frashour for his fatal shooting of Aaron Campbell, 25, an unarmed African American man, in 2010. The ruling also ordered Frashour be returned to work with lost wages.
The Rev. LeRoy Haynes , chair of the alliance’s Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, called the arbitration decision “outrageous” and urged a federal review of the state arbitration system.
“This decision says that those who are elected that they cannot hold police officers in this city accountable,” Haynes bellowed, from the steps outside City Hall.
“It says any police officer can do what they want to do,” Haynes. “It means we cannot trust our police department.”
Protesters at Portland City Hall question arbitratror’s recommendation to reinstate Ronald Frashour
Crowd gathers at City Hall to protest order reinstating officer who shot Aaron Campbell
Haynes said a “critical review” of the Frashour arbitration decision is needed and urged federal justice department officials to investigate the state arbitration system because of its long history of ruling in the favor of Portland police.
The Rev. T. Allen Bethel, president of the alliance, said he asks the president of the Portland Police Association to “please look at your heart…..because what is happening is not enduring you or the bureau to the city.”
“It is time for Frashour to leave the bureau!” Bethel said.
“This can’t go on! But we’ll keep marching on,” said Minister Mark Knutson of Augustana Lutheran Church in Northeast Portland while leading a chant.
He chided the arbitrator for being swayed by William Lewinski, an outside expert called by the police union who testified about the action-reaction training principle – that an armed subject can draw a gun and fire, even while running away, before an officer can respond.
Knutson said the arbitrator should have considered the “action-reaction” advice that parents of young children of color in the community are given – “Don’t even move if you are pulled over for you may be shot dead,” he said.
Aaron Campbell’s stepdad John Davis also spoke, decrying the arbitrator’s ruling and the system that allows it.
“I don’t have any problems with police officers or unions but there’s something wrong with this decision,” Davis said.
Aaron Campbell’s mother reacts to civil rights review of Portland police
“This is a slap in the face to our communities,” said Martin Gonzalez, a community activist.
Also among those speaking to the crowd was Tom Steenson, the Campbell family’s attorney. He told the crowd that the Department of Justince “should come in (and) get rid of the (Police Bureau’s) training division.”
Steenson said he’s come to the conclusion that “there’s no way for this city to control this union and the police bureau.”
He said he stands among the crowd with a “heavy heart and grave concern,” after having counseled many families whose loved ones have been killed by police.
He said he’s tired of telling relatives that “the officers who inflict the death will get away with it.”
Midge Purcell, director of advocacy for the Urban League, said she’s a mother who is concerned about her children’s encounters with police and spoke out against the arbitrator’s ruling.
As did Eleyna Fugman, an Occupy Portland activist. She said she condemns the ruling, and will join with the Albina Ministerial Alliance, to protest Frashour’s return to uniform.
Jo Ann Hardesty, a former state representative, said the issue is not a racial one, but one about “humanity” and respect for life.
Dan Handelman, of Portland Copwatch, recited other disciplinary actions against Portland police that were overturned by an arbitrator, dating back to 1981, the infamous possum incident when officers were fired but reinstated after leaving a dead possum on the doorstep of an African American-owned restaurant.
“Here we go again,” Handelman said he thought, when he learned of the Frashour arbitrator’s ruling. He faulted the arbitrator for not considering the bureau’s use of force policy, that says officers should use the least force possible.
Handelman said he calls Lewinski’s action-reaction principle the “Superman theory,” questioning how Campbell, while running, could have – if he had been armed – pulled out a gun , fired and hit an officer faster than an officer who had his AR-15 rifle already focused on Campbell could fire.
“That makes no sense,” Handelman said.
More than a hundred people marched around City Hall after the speeches, continuing their chants. The Rev. Haynes led the march, holding a sign that read , “Stop, Look, Listen, Don’t Shoot.”
In Friday’s decision, arbitrator Jane R. Wilkinson found there was “an objectively reasonable basis” for Frashour to believe that Campbell, 25, posed an immediate risk of serious injury or death to others. But she noted “it was a close call.”
While the Portland police union president applauded the decision, Mayor Sam Adams, who serves as police commissioner, said the city would appeal the ruling.
At Monday’s protest, Portland city council candidate Teresa Raiford questioned why no city officials were outside, joining the crowd.
“Where are our leaders?” Raiford asked.
An appeal to the state Employee Relations Board would be limited. Under state statute, the three-member board would not determine whether the arbitrator made the right decision. Instead, the board would decide whether there are any grounds for an appeal — for example, did the arbitrator consider all pertinent evidence, exceed her power, base the ruling on a material mistake, or did the ruling violate public policy or law.
Stuart Tomlinson/The Oregonian Marva Davis, mother of Aaron Campbell, talks about her family's decision to settle a suit against the Police Bureau for $1.2 million.
Members of the Albina Ministerial Alliance this morning stood with Aaron Campbell’s mother in support of the recent $1.2 million settlement of the family’s federal wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Portland.
Marva Davis, Campbell’s mother who had lost another son the day a Portland police officer fatally shot 25-year-old Campbell on Jan. 29, 2010, said she agreed to settle the case because she didn’t want to experience the pain again.
“I don’t want to relive this again. It hurts,” Davis said, speaking outside City Hall. “I lost two sons that day, just not Aaron. I don’t want to relive that.”
The family’s attorney, Tom Steenson, has publicly urged Police Chief Mike Reese to address a “disconnect” between the chief’s findings that the shooting violated policy, and the expected testimony of at least 11 bureau training instructors who said the chief was wrong and the officers involved acted as trained.
“I just hope we can work together and get to a point where we can feel good about calling the police,” Davis said.
Campbell, distraught and suicidal over his brother’s death earlier that day, emerged from his girlfriend’s Northeast Portland apartment, walking backwards with his hands behind his head. Officer Ryan Lewton fired six beanbag less-lethal shotgun rounds at him, when Campbell didn’t follow his orders to put his hands in the air.
Officer Ronald Frashour fired a single shot from his AR-15 rifle, as Campbell ran behind a car. Frashour has said he thought Campbell was reaching for a gun. The 25-year-old was unarmed.
The Rev. LeRoy Haynes of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, and Marva Davis, mother of Aaron Campbell call for police reforms, better training in the use of deadly force.
LeRoy Haynes, chair of the Albina Ministerial Alliance’s Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, today praised Campbell’s family.
“This family has shown their strength and this mother has shown what she’s made up of – grace to struggle against the injustices that were committed against their son Aaron Campbell, in this horrendous act of shooting an unarmed young African American in the back with his hands locked around his neck,” Haynes said.
Haynes said the coalition echoes the family’s call for the chief and Mayor Sam Adams to address “the contradiction between policy and training within the bureau.”
Haynes also called on the U.S. Department of Justice to examine the Campbell case closely. Steenson has sent a package to the federal investigators containing trial discovery documents.
Although the coalition would have preferred a trial to allow the community to see the “brokenness” in the Police Bureau, Haynes said he hopes the Campbell case will be a “pivotal lawsuit” that will spur bureau reforms.
“Let us use this historical moment in a positive way to create a better Police Bureau,” Haynes said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez today announced a federal investigation into whether the Portland police are engaged in a “pattern or practice” of civil rights violations relating to officers’ use of force.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez (center) flanked by Portland Mayor Sam Adams (left) and U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton, announces a federal review of the Portland Police Bureau today.
The Civil Rights Divisions Special Litigation section will conduct the review with the U.S. attorney’s office.
It will examine if there’s a pattern or practice of excessive force used by Portland police, particularly against people with mental illness.
Perez, speaking at a news conference in the U.S. Attorney’s office at the federal courthouse, said the review was prompted by the significant increase in police shooting over the last 18 months, the majority which involved people with mental illness.
Perez was joined today by Oregon U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton, Portland’s mayor and police chief. Marva Davis, whose son Aaron Campbell was fatally shot by Portland police in January 2010, and James P. Chasse Sr., whose son James Chasse Jr. died in police custody in September 2006, were among those who attended the news conference, with their lawyer, Tom Steenson.
Perez said the full review has three goals: to reduce crime, to ensure respect for the U.S. Constitution and to ensure public confidence in law enforcement.
“Make no mistake, our investigation will be independent, it will be fair, and it will be thorough, but it also will be collaborative,” Perez said. “We must learn and listen from all affected stakeholders.
“We’re not here to fix the blame, we’re here to fix the problem.”
April 25 1975
Mayor Sam Adams said he welcomes the inquiry and expects the city and the bureau to learn from the investigation.
“We more than welcome this investigation,” he said. ” We asked for it. … This is a difficult situation. We are humble in the knowledge that we don’t have it all figured out.”
GRAPHIC RIGHT, from The Oregonian A1, April 25, 1975 – the launch of the infamous Lezak Commission, investigating the police-caused deaths of four African-American men. Federal Attorney Sidney Lezak closed the commission within months after assuring community advocates and PSU students justice would be asserted. No convictions, no prosecutions, no indictments.
Portland Police Chief Mike Reese said he was proud of the work his officers do every day on the street, in their encounters with homeless people, those suffering from mental illness or drug abuse. He said he sees the federal review as a unique opportunity to work with the federal justice department to ensure his officers are at the forefront of how to address these issues.
“We are accountable, and we hold ourselves accountable,” Reese said.
Jo Ann Bowman, a former state legislator and [former] executive director of Oregon Action, and Joyce Harris, the co-chair of the African American Alliance, voiced concern that the focus of the review was on police use of force involving the mentally ill and not on discrimination experienced by African Americans and low-income people.
Bowman asked: “How do you make sure race doesn’t get lost in this?”
Perez said: “We will be listening to every corner of the community.”
Holton said the investigation is an opportunity to make sure Portland officers are equipped, trained and ready to do the best job they can consistent with the U.S. Constitution and federal civil rights law.
“This is an opportunity to reach around the table and figure out what challenges we have and fix them,” Holton said.
Daryl Turner, president of the the Portland Police Association, issued a statement saying officers do a difficult job dealing with the mentally ill who don’t get adequate treatment.
“The U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation is not an indictment of Portland Police Officers, but rather an investigation into the systems that are at work in this difficult situation,” Turner said. “We welcome that review, as we believe it will illustrate the reality of today’s policing and will show the service, hard work and dedication of the men and women of the Portland Police Bureau.”
The investigators will first meet with police supervisors and officers, and other local police administration. Second, the team of lawyers and police experts will talk to community stakeholders “with relevant insights on this matter,” according to a letter Perez wrote to Mayor Sam Adams, dated today.
“Our investigation will be independent, but we will provide real time feedback to you, and ensure that the lines of communication are open throughout the review,” Perez wrote. “We have not prejudged what, if any, remedy is necessary.”
“Please be assured that we have not reached any conclusions about the subject matter of the investigation, and that we will consider all relevant information, including efforts that the City of Portland and the PPB have undertaken to ensure compliance with federal law,” Perez wrote to Mayor Adams, in a letter dated June 8.
The police investigation will overlap with an ongoing federal investigation into Oregon’s mental health care system, the federal officials said.
The action – the first comprehensive federal investigation into the Portland Police Bureau – comes amid a string of controversial Portland officer-involved fatal shootings or deaths in police custody of people suffering from mental illness.
In February 2010, city officials, including former police Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Mayor Sam Adams, had asked the U.S. Justice Department to conduct a full review of the Police Bureau after the Jan. 29, 2010 police fatal shooting of Campbell, an unarmed black man who was distraught following the death of his brother earlier that day.
Community leaders disturbed by the high-profile police shootings and deaths in custody also pressed for such an inquiry.
Among their concerns: the high profile September 2006 death of James P. Chasse Jr. in police custody , a 42-year-old man who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia to the past year’s spate of officer-involved shootings, including the fatal shooting of a 58-year-old homeless man Jack Dale Collins who emerged from a restroom at Hoyt Arboretum with an X-Acto knife to the shooting of homeless veteran Thomas Higginbotham, who was shot 10 times after he emerged from a Southeast Portland car wash with a knife.
After the announcement, community leaders gave their reaction on the front steps of the U.S. District Court in Portland.
Dr. Leroy Haynes, of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, said he expects the federal investigation will help the city “reform the Portland Police Bureau.”
“The issue is accountability. Just as they want accountability from the citizens of Portland. We also want accountability from the Portland police. There are some great officers out there doing an outstanding job, but there are also some bad apples.”
Campbell’s mother, Marva Davis, said changes in the police bureau need to be made.
“It gives us hope,” Davis said.
Steenson, who said he has represented 10 to 12 families who have had loved ones who have either been fatally shot or wounded by Portland police, said he welcomes the federal investigation.
“We hope the city of Portland, the Portland Police Bureau and the police union will open up and be receptive to change,” Steenson said.
He added that he hopes the city, bureau and union will “not ignore, but “actually face up to its problems.”
After the Chasse family obtained a $1.6 million settlement with the city in its federal civil rights lawsuit for the death in custody of James P. Chasse Jr., the father retained a lawyer in Washington, D.C. to present the reams of documents obtained in discovery and depositions to the U.S. Department of Justice. Steenson said he believes that meeting with federal justice officials in the spring of 2010 also helped spur this investigation.
In the wider civil investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, which could last up to 1 1/2 years, special litigation attorneys in the civil rights division will evaluate bureau policies, procedures and practices, as well as specific officer-involved fatal shootings or deaths in custody, such as James P. Chasse Jr.’s death in 2006.
If violations are identified, the federal agency would recommend remedies and may monitor the Police Bureau until it’s satisfied the bureau has addressed the problems.
The U.S. Justice Department began an investigation into Oregon’s state mental hospital in 2006. In 2008, the Justice Department warned Oregon that care and conditions at the state hospital violated patients’ rights. State and federal officials have been in talks since then to correct deficiencies and head off a lawsuit. Oregon leaders have said they want to avoid having a federal judge dictate what kind of mental health system the state has.
In 2010, the US Justice Department investigation expanded their inquiry beyond the Oregon State Hospital, to the state mental health care system. In addition to looking at conditions and care inside the mental hospital wards, the Justice Department is questioning how budget cuts affect the level of care people with mental illnesses receive in the community.
“We have two separate but unrelated investigations underway here,” Perez said.
The federal officials said they also welcome any information from the community as they launch the investigation into Portland police use of force.
To contact the federal justice department, the public can send information via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-218-5228.
Broad cross section of Portland groups calling for public involvement in police union talks and other reforms
The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform is sponsoring a rally and march in at Pioneer Square in downtown Portland starting at 11:00a.m. on Saturday, September 25.
In less than a year, Portland police have been involved in several high profile cases involving the use of excessive force. These include the shooting deaths of three men: Aaron Campbell, Jack Collins, and Keaton Otis and a twelve year old girl was tasered and shot with a bean bag gun at a MAX station. The AMA Coalition has taken a strong stand for scrutiny of the police bureau’s use of excessive force, the need for more public involvement in the Independent Police Review Committee, and opening police union contract talks to the public.
“Our work is not done. We need to restore a respectful relationship between Portland’s police force and the community.” said Reverend Dr. LeRoy Haynes, of the AMA Coalition. “The main goal of the rally on September 25th is to continue mobilizing the community for justice and police reform.”
Speakers will include:
Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Chair of the Albina Ministerial Alliance
Kasey Jama, Executive Director of the Center for Intercultural Organizing
Chris O’Connor, Mental Health Association of Portland
Israel Beyer, Publisher of Street Roots newspaper
Rev. Bill Sinkford, Senior Minister of First Unitarian Church
Marco Mejia, Board Director of VOZ Workers Rights Education Project
and representatives from Sisters of the Road, Basic Rights Oregon and Portland Copwatch and more.
The AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform is working toward these five goals:
1. A federal investigation by the Justice Department to include criminal and civil rights violations, as well as a federal audit of patterns and practices of the Portland Police Bureau.
2. Strengthening the Independent Police Review Division and the Citizen Review Committee with the goal of adding power to compel testimony.
3. A full review of the Bureau’s excessive force and deadly force policies and training with diverse citizen participation for the purpose of making recommendations to change policies and training.
4. The Oregon State Legislature narrowing the language of the State statute for deadly force used by police officers.
5. Establishing a special prosecutor for police excessive force and deadly force cases.
The AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform follows these three principles:
1. Embrace the five goals
2. Accept the principles of non-violent direct action as enunciated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
3. Work as a team in concert to achieve the goals