Now Playing:

News

local

Transcripts Show Confusion At Campbell Shooting Scene


Multnomah County released a transcript Thursday of the grand jury testimony in the shooting of Aaron Campbell.

As Krisitan Foden-Vencil reports, it shows that communication at a police scene can get confusing.


The release marks the first time grand jury testimony has been handed to the public in a police 'use of force' case in Multnomah County.

District Attorney, Mike Schrunk, says he hopes people will look at all 450 pages.

Mike Schrunk: "I think it's important for the public, before they render judgement, that they ferret out what's really rhetoric that's been tossed around the community. To actual facts."

One fact we all know now, is that Aaron Campbell was not armed.

But the central question for police that night was whether or not he had a gun when he came out.

The testimony starts with Erik Kammerer, the lead investigator in the case. He explains how police arrived at the location and didn't want to knock on the door - because they knew from a 9-1-1 call that Campbell was both armed and suicidal.

Kammerer told the jury that Campbell's girlfriend, Angie Jones, was the first to talk to police on the scene. She confirmed that Campbell had a gun in the apartment — and that it was wrapped in a sock and stuffed in his jacket pocket.

Both police and Jones were particularly worried about the gun being in the apartment with three children.
A request is made for Campbell to let the children go and they quickly leave.

It's at this point that communication at the scene gets confused.

For example, a text that Campbell sent saying quote: "Don't make me bring my gun. I ain't playing," is recalled by the next officer to testify, Jeffrey Elias. But he remembers hearing quote: "If the police don't leave I'm going to get my gun."

Similar differences are speckled throughout the testimony.

Officer Elias goes on to tell the jury that many officers knew Campbell had a history of violence when they arrived at the scene — because they'd seen his rap-sheet on patrol car computers.

They knew for example he'd resisted arrest in the past and had been charged with domestic violence and carrying a weapon.

Elias told the jury that after coming outside, Campbell was shot with bean bags for not putting his hands up. He says he then stumbled and  was about to fall but started running.  He then saw Campbell's hand go down to his belt as if for a gun — and then he hears a rifle shot.

The officer who took that shot was Ronald Frashour. He told the grand jury that quote “in my mind I knew he was grabbing his gun.”

In its letter to the public, the grand jury said it found  officer Frashour to be honest. And grand jury members agreed he genuinely believed Aaron Campbell was running for cover so he could shoot at someone.

But they also said that Frashour was not well informed of on-going negotiations  — for example, that he didn't know Campbell had said he wasn't going to hurt anyone.

Portland Police Union President, Scott Westerman, says the documents paint the picture of a very disturbed man. 

Scott Westerman: "He was so distraught, so far down, so for lack of a better term hell bend on killing himself. He made statements that he was going to have the police kill him because if the police killed him he would go to heaven. If he committed suicide, he would go to hell. And he wanted to be with his brother in heaven."

Emotions continue to run high around this case. The Reverend Jesse Jackson talked of an execution when he flew into town earlier this week.

Portland's black newspaper 'The Skanner,' has also warned people to think twice before calling police. News editor, Lisa Loving, explained the editorial on OPB's 'Think Out Loud.'

Lisa Loving: "If you do choose to call the police there may be unintended consequences. When you call 9-1-1 you lock in a series of situations that you're not in control of anymore."

Loving says the idea may seem radical for mainstream communities, but it's been around for generations among communities of color.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams and members of the African-American community are expected to announce Friday that they've requested an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Campbell Shooting