Updates after the jump.
Well, here we are again. It's been almost three months since the last rally on the Justice Center steps, and the tone of this morning's rally was more outraged, more disbelieving, and frankly, louder than the last.
Reverend Doctor Leroy Haynes led proceedings with a statement signed by 32 ministers from churches all over Portland. He said the shooting death of Aaron Campbell on Friday, January 29, was "preventable and unnecessary," and called on the city council to support a public inquiry into Campbell's death. He also called for the District Attorney's office to establish a special prosecutor for police excessive force and deadly force cases, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest in these cases. A Grand Jury failed to indict Officer Ronald Frashour late Tuesday.
Haynes also supported City Commissioner Randy Leonard's proposal to strengthen the Independent Police Review Division with the future goal of adding subpoena power, and called on Police Chief Rosie Sizer to review its training, "with diverse citizen participation and to make recommendations for change."
Campbell was "shot in the back by Officer Frashour with an AR-15 rifle while demonstrating his intent to follow the commands of the officers and after the officers had set up a containment area to limit his movement," said Haynes.
"Here we are again, standing on the steps like the woman in the story that Jesus told," said Haynes. "She went to the judge every day saying 'render me justice'. And because of her persistency, her faith...the judge was forced to render her justice. We stand at this door to say, we will keep knocking. We will keep coming, until justice is rendered. Until the police bureau is changed."
Gordly, meanwhile, urged those gathered to "point across the street to city hall." "The language being spoken by the head of the police union is unacceptable," she said. "The police are here in service to the citizens, and so are our elected officials. We're in pursuit of a different sort of leadership out of city hall, and we're going to claim it."
"Unfortunately, after a tragedy like this, for a couple of days the media pays attention and the everybody goes home," said Jo Ann Bowman—Executive Director of Oregon Action. "Clearly we have not done an effective job of training Portland Police officers to cope with mental health crises."
"The buck stops with our mayor," said Bowman. "It stops with every City Commissioner."
"They continue to be the only force that I know that has not done anything wrong," said the Reverend T.Allen Bethel. "And the only one I know who has not done anything wrong is God. They are not God. And we need to tell our City Commissioners: If you do not want to help us then we know how to help you pack your bags and leave your office, and do something else."
Police officers' temperaments need to be assessed, said Bishop AA.Wells. "We can move grizzly bears, we can move lions, but when it comes to certain citizens in our community, we say, 'I thought he had a gun.' They should be in a different job."
Marva Campbell-Davis, Campbell's mother, showed for the rally on the courthouse and to City Hall.
Cries included: "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!"
And: "Stop the killing! Stop the violence!"
"Thank you for your support," she told the crowd. "This could be anyone. I don't want this to happen again."
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!