Police union president slaps back at Mayor’s decision

PPA Press Release on Employment Relations Boards Decisions

By Daryl Turner, PPAVigil.org, September 25, 2012

PPA President Daryl Turner

Integrity is essential to the believability of information produced during an investigation. The Employment Relations Board ruling in the Officer [Ronald] Frashour case asserts that during their investigation they have reviewed and researched all the information provided to them by both parties. After a thorough investigation that spanned over several months and thousands of pages documents the ERB has ruled that the City of Portland is in violation of ORS243.672(1)(g). Further the ERB has ordered the City to “cease and desist from violating ORS 243.672(1)(g)“ and to reinstate Ronald Frashour as a Portland Police Officer within 30 days.

The ERB is the sixth independent body that has ruled that Officer Ron Frashour committed no misconduct, violation of laws, civil rights violations, or violations of training and policies of the Portland Police Bureau. Yet Mayor [Sam] Adams snubs his nose at all of them including the U.S. Department of Justice, whom he praised so highly just last week for their findings in regards to their investigation into the patterns of the use of force by the Portland Police Bureau.

Mayor Sam Adams

Mayor Adams has turned this into a personal vendetta using the hard earned dollars of taxpaying Portlanders as his personal check book to extend this politically motivated witch hunt at the expense of the integrity of a process that protects the very core of collective bargaining.

Throughout this process Mayor Adams has desperately tried to tip the scales of this ill-fated investigation in order to justify his actions and statements made before the evidence and the facts of the Aaron Campbell incident had been presented before a grand jury. We knew how Mayor Adams felt when he marched through the streets of Portland rather than waiting to gather facts. Six independent bodies have reviewed the facts. All six have exonerated Officer Frashour of any misconduct. Mayor Adams stands alone, unsupported by facts. It’s time for him to end this mess, and provide the community with closure.


WATCH – Press Conference with Daryl Turner


Press Conference Statement Regarding Reinstatement of Officer Ron Frashour

By Daryl Turner, PPA Rap Sheet, September 24, 2012

Today, in a unanimous opinion, the Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB) determined that the City violated State law by refusing to put Officer Ron Frashour back to work. The ERB is the sixth independent body to clear Officer Frashour of misconduct. A Multnomah County Grand Jury; the Oregon Employment Department; the United States Department of Justice; Oregon’s Department of Public Safety Standards and Training; a nationally recognized arbitrator hand-selected by the City; and now the ERB have all said the same thing—Officer Frashour acted reasonably and lawfully.

The ERB’s order is compelling given that its three members—one from a management-side labor law background, one neutral, and one from a union background—unanimously agreed that State collective bargaining law requires the City to honor the final and binding arbitration award that ordered Officer Frashour back to work. The ERB’s reasoning is clear:  Officer Frashour engaged in no misconduct and his reinstatement would not violate public policy.

From the beginning, the Portland Police Association has supported Officer Frashour because he followed the training and policies of the Portland Police Bureau on the night of January 29, 2010. The unnecessary battle that the City undertook should now be over. The City has spent over $750,000 of taxpayer funds to keep Officer Frashour fired. That sum is unacceptable in a time where local governments are struggling to provide core services to their communities. That sum is also shocking given that, in the words of the ERB, the City’s actions were “calculated” and in clear disregard of well-established State law.

Now is the time to move forward and provide closure to this incident. For nearly three years, Officer Frashour, Mr. [Aaron] Campbell’s family, and the community have endured the politicizing of a tragedy. No good has come of it. The City asserted that transparency, accountability, and integrity of the process compelled it to seek review of the arbitration award; the ERB has now affirmed that the arbitration award satisfied each of those concepts. The time has come for the City to honor its legal obligations and return Officer Frashour to work.


Police union blasts Portland Mayor Sam Adams over stance on Frashour reinstatement

Aaron Campbell

The president of the Portland police union blasted Mayor Sam Adams Tuesday morning, saying Adams’ defiance of an order to reinstate officer Ron Frashour reflects “a personal vendetta.””He’s showing the questionable integrity that he’s had all during his tenure,” said Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner. “We’re obviously upset about it but more than upset, we’re disillusioned with the fact that he’s our police commissioner.

Turner said Adams should heed the findings of the employment relations board which yesterday ordered the city to follow an arbitrator’s ruling and to reinstate Frashour within 30 days, with back pay, benefits and 9 percent interest.

Frashour was fired after he fatally shot an unarmed man in January 2010. Frashour has said he believed the man, Aaron Campbell, was reaching for a gun.

Turner said the employment relations board’s decision follows independent reviews that concluded Frashour’s actions were justified and followed proper police procedures and training.

“Mayor Adams has turned this into a personal vendetta and is using the hard-earned dollars of tax-paying Portlanders as his personal checkbook to extend this politically motivated witch hunt at the expense of the integrity of a process that protects the very core of collective bargaining,” Turner said. “Mayor Adams stands alone unsupported by the facts and it’s time for him to end this mess and provide the community with closure,” Turner said.

The union president said he plans to speak with the other city commissioners to urge them to vote against an appeal of the ruling, adding that Frashour is ready to return to work.


UPDATED: State Board Orders Mayor Adams to Reinstate Ron Frashour

By Denis C. Theriault, Portland Mercury, September 24, 2012

Mayor Sam Adams
The Oregon Employment Relations Board, in a perfunctory ruling reached on Friday, has told the city of Portland and Mayor Sam Adams to reinstate Ron Frashour, the officer fired for fatally shooting Aaron Campbell in the back in 2010. The board decided that putting Frashour back to work, with back pay, wouldn’t amount to a “public policy violation,” something the city tried to argue using an obscure state collective bargaining law.

The board’s decision—the latest turn in a case that generated enormous community outrage and helped lead to a damning federal report on how Portland cops treat the mentally ill—may mark the end of a monthslong effort by Adams to do anything in his power to keep Frashour from working as Portland cop. Adams has a press conference planned at 3 to respond. To keep fighting, via a court challenge, he’ll now need two other city commissioners to join him.

Frashour was fired later in fall 2010 for the Campbell shooting and for a history of other questionable judgment calls involving the use of force. But an arbitrator this spring ruled Frashour’s decision to shoot the distraught and suicidal Campbell—tragically ending a welfare check gone chaotically awry amid a breakdown in police communication and a dubious use of a beanbag gun—was reasonable because Frashour said he believed Campbell was reaching for a gun. When Adams balked at reinstating Frashour, the Portland Police Association filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the ERB.

UPDATE 3:25 PM: Adams, at a short press conference where shared the lectern with City Attorney James Van Dyke, said he expected the ERB’s decision and promised he would hold a public hearing in the next 30 days (before Frashour would return to work) and ask his fellow commissioners to back sending the matter to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

“That’s what were fighting for here: our ability to manage our own police bureau on behalf of Portlanders who have their own set of values and have the right to have a police force that reflects that,” said a clearly emotional Adams, lamenting that “labor unions and their connected institutions” have a greater say on discipline and values than “the city council, the police commissioner, the police chief.”

“It is frustrating to have so much of what should be our local control taken away from us with these arcane or misused state labor laws,” he also said.

Update 5:05 PM: I’ve just finished buzzing the four city commissioner offices, and it’s looking like the mayor will have his work cut out for him convincing his colleagues that a court challenge makes sense.

I’ve previously reported that Randy Leonard disagreed with the initial decision to send Frashour’s reinstatement to the ERB. Leonard, who worked on the law the mayor is citing when he served in Salem, says he doesn’t know “that you can convince the Court of Appeals that first an arbitrator and then the ERB disregarded collective bargaining laws.” He’ll never be convinced “it’s a good idea,” but if it’s a close decision for him—he worries an adverse court might “embolden bad behavior”—he’ll support the mayor.

“He’s the police commissioner,” said Leonard, a close Adams ally and a former union leader himself.

Nick Fish maybe comes closest to distilling what’s in play for the rest of the council. He says he wants a full briefing from the city attorney’s office and that he needs to see the city has a “plausible legal strategy” for a challenge and that “we’re not just kicking the can down the road” if the courts say no.

Dan Saltzman said he hadn’t read the ruling yet and didn’t have any comment, other than to say he wasn’t surprised. Amanda Fritz was out of the office; I’ve sent her a message asking for comment.  Later she said couldn’t comment because she hadn’t read the ruling.

Original post resumes here:The panel looked closely at the arbitrator’s ruling clearing Frashour, seizing on a key distinction raised the Portland Police Association: Not only was Frashour punished too severely, the arbritrator found, but more importantly there also wasn’t any misconduct to punish.”There is no need for any further analysis by this Board once the arbitrator determines that the greivant did not engage in misconduct,” the ruling said. “The arbitration award must be implemented.”

The decision wasn’t unexpected. As the Mercury first reported this spring, legal observers who helped write the law Portland tried to use to keep Frashour from the police force were convinced the city was on shaky ground.

UPDATE CONTINUED: A Portland court challenge challenge would follow other—losing—court fights that came after ERB reinstated other public employees. Van Dyke explained that the city wants to challenge ERB’s basic approach to this kind of case—complaining that it shouldn’t stop at the question of whether an arbitrator did or didn’t misconduct because arbitrators sometimes get that finding wrong. As an example, the city cited its attempt nearly 20 years ago to punish Officer Douglas Erickson in a deadly force case, a case held up as one of the reasons a “public policy” exemption was added to collective bargaining laws.

Adams said he’s been keeping his fellow commissioners apprised of the case but didn’t way whether he had any commitments. The PPA’s president, Daryl Turner, has also been making the rounds, as I reported in Hall Monitor earlier this year.

“I want them to have the time over the next couple of weeks to sit down on their own with our outside counsel and the city attorney and learn all the details on the matter and make a decision,” Adams said. “I don’t speak on their behalf.”

Adams also took the chance to hit back at the PPA for telling a “very selective and distorted story about the investigation into the use of force by officer Frashour,” referring to leaked transcripts from the arbitration hearing that forced the city attorney’s office to write a stern letter to the PPA’s attorney. Turner, in describing the confidential transcripts in the PPA’s newsletter this summer, argued they revealed Frashour’s firing was politically motivated. The city has bristled at that but declined to release, citing the ongoing legal fight, the full set of transcripts to rebut that. Instead the city has promised a review by the auditor’s office.

“We’ve used restraint,” Adams said.

Adams also batted away complaints over the cost of the legal fight to keep Frashour off the police force: approaching, if not already surpassing, $1 million. He defended it as an “investment” in our values.

“It is totally worth it, and Portlanders expect us to do this.”

Meanwhile, over the PPA’s newsletter, Turner has posted a statement of his own.

Today, in a unanimous opinion, the Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB) determined that the City violated State law by refusing to put Officer Ron Frashour back to work. The ERB is the sixth independent body to clear Officer Frashour of misconduct. A Multnomah County Grand Jury; the Oregon Employment Department; the United States Department of Justice; Oregon’s Department of Public Safety Standards and Training; a nationally recognized arbitrator hand-selected by the City; and now the ERB have all said the same thing—Officer Frashour acted reasonably and lawfully.

The ERB’s order is compelling given that its three members—one from a management-side labor law background, one neutral, and one from a union background—unanimously agreed that State collective bargaining law requires the City to honor the final and binding arbitration award that ordered Officer Frashour back to work. The ERB’s reasoning is clear: Officer Frashour engaged in no misconduct and his reinstatement would not violate public policy.

From the beginning, the Portland Police Association has supported Officer Frashour because he followed the training and policies of the Portland Police Bureau on the night of January 29, 2010. The unnecessary battle that the City undertook should now be over. The City has spent over $750,000 of taxpayer funds to keep Officer Frashour fired. That sum is unacceptable in a time where local governments are struggling to provide core services to their communities. That sum is also shocking given that, in the words of the ERB, the City’s actions were “calculated” and in clear disregard of well-established State law.

Now is the time to move forward and provide closure to this incident. For nearly three years, Officer Frashour, Mr. Campbell’s family, and the community have endured the politicizing of a tragedy. No good has come of it. The City asserted that transparency, accountability, and integrity of the process compelled it to seek review of the arbitration award; the ERB has now affirmed that the arbitration award satisfied each of those concepts. The time has come for the City to honor its legal obligations and return Officer Frashour to work.


Police union president slams Adams over Frashour fight

KATU.com, September 25, 2012

The president of the Portland Police Association accused Portland Mayor Sam Adams of using the controversy over reinstating Officer Ron Frashour for political gain.

“Mayor Adams has turned this into a personal vendetta,” Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “And he’s using the hard-earned dollars of taxpaying Portlanders as his personal checkbook to extend this politically motivated witch hunt at the expense of the integrity of a process that protects the very core of collective bargaining.”

Last Friday, the Oregon Employment Relations Board ruled that the city must adhere to an arbitrator’s decision and re-hire Ron Frashour. Adams has stated in the past he would fight efforts to have Frashour reinstated.

Frashour shot and killed Aaron Campbell during an encounter outside Campbell’s apartment in 2010. Campbell was unarmed. After an investigation, Frashour was fired for his actions during the shooting.

Turner said the mayor had “snubbed his nose” at the demand from the ERB to reinstate Frashour and claimed Adams is using the controversy for political purposes. He said the mayor’s pursuit of Frashour has already cost the city $1 million.

“This is personal for the mayor, he wants to make a statement,” Turner said.

Turner also said several reviews of the incident by agencies not related to the union found no misconduct in Frashour’s actions and it was time for the mayor to accept the call to reinstate Frashour.

“This is a person who did his job,” Turner said of Frashour. “He did what he was trained to do. He did what he had sworn to do, and he trusted the integrity of a process, and the integrity of the police commissioner to be able to agree with that process, which they did.”

“And now that the process has gone through all of the stages the mayor now is—uh, I can’t use that word—the mayor is backing out of it,” Turner said. “He’s showing the questionable integrity that he’s had all during his tenure. He’s showing that he’s not up to living up to the promises he’s made to the Police Bureau, to the Police Association. And we’re obviously upset about it, but more than that we’re also disillusioned with the fact that he’s our police commissioner.”

“Mayor Adams stands alone, unsupported by facts. It’s time for him to end this mess and provide the community with closure,” Turner said.

He also said he hopes Portland city commissioners do not take the case to the Oregon Court of Appeals. But Tuesday afternoon, City Commissioner Randy Leonard issued a press release saying he would support Adams in an appeals process.

The Portland Police Association also released a statement to the media about the controversy, reiterating many of the points made Turner.

 


Police Union Says Adams Has Vendetta Against Frashour

By Andrea Damewood, Willamette Week, September 25, 2012

Mayor Sam Adams‘ determination to to keep fired Portland Police Officer Ronald Frashour off the force is “to justify his tenure as police commissioner,” Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner said Tuesday morning in a press conference.

“[Adams] has turned this into his personal vendetta,” Turner said. He said the mayor is conducting a “politically motivated witch hunt” and “using taxpayer money as his personal checkbook.”

Turner’s remarks came the day after the the state Employee Relations Board gave Adams 30 days to re-hire Frashour, who shot and killed unarmed 25-year-old Aaron Campbell in the back in 2010.

Adams promised Monday afternoon that if he could gain the support of a majority of city commissioners, he’d challenge the ERB runing in the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Turner said he’ll be attempting to meet with city commissioners himself to lobby them against siding with Adams.

Further appeals are a waste of taxpayer money, said Turner, who said that the city’s spent “probably over $1 million” to fight Frashour’s rehiring. The union boss said the ERB’s findings back up those of five other independent bodies who cleared Frashour of either criminal or police policy and training wrongdoings.

According to the Portland City Attorney’s office, however, the total amount of money spent by the city in all the Frashour appeals has been $620,000. The city spent $60,000 on the complaint with the ERB, and attorney costs from the date of the initial complaint to the state arbitrator, to the arbitrator’s ruling was about $560,000, Adams’ spokeswoman Caryn Brooks told WW in an email.

“We have a police commissioner and a mayor who is not going to listen to any one else,” Turner said.