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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Justice for killer Portland cops? Never.

Shoot an unarmed man in the back, get a year and a half paid vacation. And the chance to kill again.

Comments (28)

Did you really think it would be any different?
This is a POLICE state don't forget.

What is that I hear about unions?

Next up: stress disability claim from Portland and perhaps a new gig in rural Oregon ala Chris Humphries.

"I'm shocked, shocked!"

If I'm reading the arbitrator's opinion correctly, there were 18 days of trial, with the City represented by a 900-lawyer law firm in addition to the City Attorney's office. There were 31 witnesses, and it looks like around 100 exhibits.

All that produced a 78-page arbitrator's opinion that goes through the many arguments made by the City (and on this blog), explaining why the arguments were either correct or incorrect. In the end, I was left with the conclusion that the arbitrator knows a whole lot more about this case than just about anyone else, and that her conclusion was the right one.

This seems like justice to me. Albeit not the pre-ordained result that some wanted, but thankfully judges, juries and arbitrators decide cases on the facts, not opinions and expectations.

William Thompson, Thanks for providing a well reasoned and well stated response.

I'm tired of the anti-police sentiment I read on this blog and other places.

Sure there are a few bad apples in every crate, but I'm glad we've got a police force in place who for the most part provides the level of service I and I suspect an overwhelming majority appreciates.

Ex-bartender-- I saw that and I had to wonder how you can take medical retirement but still be fit to serve as sheriff? Well, other than the obvious answer.

Meanwhile in Idaho, a driver displays a gun to another motorist and.... gets arrested, jailed, and charged with brandishing & reckless driving.

Double standards? What double standards?

Voters elect Sheriffs - Their qualifications are determined at the ballot box. Don't like that system?

Being involved with multifamily housing management in Oregon for many years and on occasion in need of Police services, I have learned that Private Security is a preferred option when working within the City of Portland.

I don't think it's naive to expect people that are being arrested to follow specific instructions, failing some mental health or drug induced crisis.

If the arresting officers (who were told by a family member dialing 911 that he had a gun) were operating under the assumption the suspect was armed, it seems reasonable to use a heightened level of caution and/or force.

Clearly, the deceased didn't deserve to die due to his failure to follow police commands. That's what civil claims are for: but no amount of money will bring him back.

It's also obvious that he made many choices (both that day, and throughout his life) that brought him face to face with the possibility of deadly force.

William Thompson's comments are helpful. I'd love to read carefully all 78 pages of the arbitrator's decision. But I'm working my way through 146 pages plus of Residential Code Amendments here in Milwaukie so I just don't have the time.

Still, I accept the more that we just don't kill people in our society unless the situation is very extreme, very grave. And the details published on this case did not sound like Aaron Campbell's behavior quite met that test. Also, what about the sergeant in charge at the scene?

geneb- that's not entirely correct. Sheriffs must be certified by DPSST as seen with Bob Skipper. Medical retirement would seem to preclude being able to perform the duties of a police officer. Or to flip it around, why should Humphreys continue to receive a medical retirement if he's able to perform the job?

Jack - You have brought out this soapbox rightfully many many times. In my opinion you have weakened it's integrity and it is pretty wobbly now. Just like the radioactive issue we can't just complain about it we must do something or teach everyone how to correct the problem. Please illustrate to us in a teaching moment what we as a society should do to correct the ills of our local law enforcement establishment. We all know there are no simple answers to this. But what should we do now to get started to fix this thing?
Fire all of the cops and start
Removal all of their power and
leave all aspects of police
actions and enforcement up to
the civilians.
Show me where there is a successful model or a better one that works that we can copy.
I have said it before here and I will say it again.We get what we deserve. Mayor, council members, police, transportation systems, planners, (taxe$). Until we stand up and make a change it will stay the way it is. Let us ask all of the so called mayoral candidates their opinion on our police force.

Johnny, the better system starts with a basic rule: cops only get to kill one unarmed civilian per career.

That is, if you wind up with a cop punching a hole in a guy or beating to death a guy or gal who wasn't actually weilding lethal force against another human being, then that's it for that cop's career in the force. Period, end of story. It's not a discipline strike, it's a condition of employment ... No person collecting a police paycheck can have terminated an unarmed person who was not at the moment immediately prior to death threatening or attempting to use lethal force homicidally.

You only get one per career, regardless of circumstances.

Obviously any cop who sincerely thinks their life is endangered and needs to make a "righteous shoot" wont think twice, and will be able to defend themselves as today. But Thumper Hunphries would not have qualified to collect another days pay, regardless of the outcome of the toothless watchdog's inquest. And Frashour could go peddle his services to whatever mercenary outfit name Blackwater is hiding behind.

For starters, I read the complete Arbitration Award.

Jane Wlkinson is an experienced and respected arbitrator from the Pacific Northwest. While her findings and conclusions in this Award are not made for feel good politics, they appear to be well reasoned based on the cited case law and relevant labor contract provisions.

The Mayor has already stated he will not honor the Award. This is a violation of state law - see ORS 243.752. The police union will file an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) Charge against the City. The City will lose.

Arbitration awards are rarely overturned. The party seeking to overturn an arbitration award has the burden of proof in showing the arbitrator was incompetent, had a personal interest in the outcome or some other compelling bias for one finding over the other (with no rationale to support the bias). In this case the City was not even able to establish it had just cause for termination - I cannot see how it would be able to muster a winning argument in seeking the Award be overturned by attacking the arbitrator.

A strong, competent and respected Mayor would meet with the interested constituents, explain the system's outcome and ask for/direct peaceful resolution and go forward.

A weak, incompetent Mayor who no one respects will spend more of the City's resources to run a losing case so as to pander to the immediate politics.

This Mayor has already spent $1.2M settling with the estate of the deceased. Can you imagine how much more will be spent to tilt at legal windmills and probably spend to settle with Frashour to make him go away? And, can you imagine what will happen when Frashour is paid more than the estate of the deceased?

I suppose the loser paid for the arbitrator's opinion? And the fine oak bookcases on which to store the city's copy?

Sal - Yes. The losing part pays all the costs of the abitrator. See Clause 22.5.2 of the City of Portland and Portland Police Association labor contract. And, of course, the City paid for outside counsel, the time of the Deputy City Attorney (a very good one i may add, but she got stuck with a looser case for the benefit of the Mayor's pandering politics)l the cost of the staff research, etc, etc ad nauseum. All so a weakling Mayor could blame someone or something other than his cronie Chief and his own failure of leadership.

Having read the entire opinion I agree with her ruling.Very interesting to see how people spin the facts of the case to fit their political opinions.

What those in agreement may not realize is that, had the arbitrator ruled the other way, her opinion would read very differently, emphasizing different aspects entirely. It's not as if the arbitrator wrote the opinion without having already made a decision; everything in that opinion is designed to support her conclusion, which was made before she started writing, and was likely actually made well before the parties got to appear. That's the way humans decide things. What's appalling here is that she is her own ultimate tribunal, with no avenue for the losing side to get a review.

On what basis do you assert that the arbitrator made her decision before even hearing what the parties had to say? That's the way humans decide things? Really? Is that the way you decide things?

Paid vacation? Really? Do you think it would be fair to not pay a person for the time they were off if an arbitrator ruled they were fired unfairly? It's in their contract. I have to keep asking myself " Is this comment coming from a law professor?"

Yes, Mike, probably so. If you would bother reading the research on human decisions and preference formation, you'd understand what I meant, which was not that the arbitrator consciously made a call before the fact, but that it is very, very likely that she did indeed have a an outcome decided, which created a perceptual lens through which the statements and briefs were filtered. It's what we do. The reason appellate panels are panels instead of solo judging is because of this very well understood behavior, which humans can no more escape than they can escape needing to breathe.

Aaron Campbell only moved after experiencing the shock impact a bean bag launcher fired six times. If you believe this ruling is unjustified and you support ending the racial profiling of innocent, young black men, please sign and share this petition.

I am a psychology graduate. I have read research on how we make decisions. I disagree that she filtered out or down played information that didn't fit her original take on the case. If it's true that we all do that as you state then what difference would it make that there would be a three panel judge instead of one person? The city has to agree with the choice of the arbitrator. Do you think they would agree to a person whose judgment and ability to think through a case they wouldn't have trust in? Have you read her whole opinion? It's very in depth and she considered all the information presented to her. Your statement " It's what we do" is not convincing at all. Provide links or references to show that to be the case all the time for everyone.

It's not a paid vacation either. Oregon law states that you must seek employment and back pay awarded is minus that pay that you received at that position since termination.

Exhibit 1 is the collective bargaining agreement. That agreement should be modified. Along the lines of GA Seldes, with a very simple rule.

When you are a cop and you kill someone who is unarmed, your employer has the option to downsize you, for reasons of safeguarding public confidence in the police force. The police officer may take a clerk or dispatcher job, or any police force job they qualify for that does not permit any further weapon-carrying on the job.

I tell you what, if the union agreement says that, killing of unarmed civilians will drop to ZERO.

Just like with Trayvon Martin, it's amazing to me how so many of you can hold such strong opinions without first-hand knowledge.

Arbitration can be a joke in some circumstances - most notably when dealing with corporations with binding arbitration clauses - but in this case it appears to have done exactly what it is supposed to do. Who are we to judge when the arbitrator actually examined evidence other than online news stories?

What will you offer the police union in trade for the onerous and wide-ranging new provision you wish to insert in their contract? It's a bargain, a contract negotiated between two parties, not just a dictatorial list of conditions of employment.

Brillant Gaye, no police union would ever agree to such a clause.


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