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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Grand Jury Does Not Indict Campbell Officers

Posted by Matt Davis on Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 8:42 AM

The Grand Jury in the officer-involved shooting of Aaron Campbell has failed to indict the officers for a crime in Campbell's death. Grand Juries are seven-strong citizen panels that convene to decide whether the District Attorney should prosecute. Did DA Mike Schrunk expect such a verdict?

"You never know," he says. "They're randomnly drawn, good Multnomah County citizens."

Schrunk says the Grand Jury also had some concerns about the incident that they want to communicate to the police by letter. The letter will be prepared today and should be available this afternoon, or "certainly by the end of the week," Schrunk says.

"They had some thoughts that they wanted to make sure got expressed," says Schrunk, declining to speculate on the likely contents of the letter.

Oregonian reporter Maxine Bernstein has found the most damning evidence in the case so far:

At least two civilian witnesses said they saw Campbell reach with one hand toward his back, where he'd just been hit with a bean-bag round, and was stumbling away from officers because he was getting hit by multiple bean-bag shots.
Thanks to a request by Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman the Grand Jury transcript is expected to be released either late this week or early next week, so that the public can decide whether the process was fair. In the past, the DA has been accused of controlling the outcomes of Grand Juries to protect the police.

The release of the transcript still needs to be decided on by a judge at the courthouse, however—it's even possible that a judge could rule against the idea. And we'll know shortly when that judge has been assigned. Meanwhile Willamette Week says the Reverend Al Sharpton is "looking into" the Campbell death, although there is no quote from Sharpton in today's piece by cop reporter James Pitkin to flesh that out—just a non-committal quote from Sharpton's spokesman. So we'll see.

A protest is planned on the steps of the Justice Center tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.

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