update, 9:51 pm: March planned for tomorrow at noon, community members encouraged to attend. Skip to the jump for more details.
"The mayor and the police chief must bear some responsibility in this," said Reverend Jesse Jackson, to a packed house at Maranatha Church of God on NE 12th and Mason this evening. "If he comes back at 8 tomorrow, you go protest at high noon."
Earlier, Reverend Jackson prepared ministers and assorted community members for his sermon in a side chapel at the church.
"If he comes back tomorrow morning..." he said.
"If he comes back tomorrow morning..." they repeated.
"We show up..." he said.
"We show up..." they repeated.
"At high noon..." he said.
"At high noon..." they said.
"And show him out!"
"And show him out!"
Jackson says the issue is a "judgment call" for the mayor and police chief to make—and since Jackson is one of only two living Americans to have his own postage stamp, his opinion carries clout. Jackson said that he was pleased he had met with Mayor Adams and Commissioner Saltzman, but said that if they did reinstate Fashour tomorrow, it would be "an insult to the community." More after the jump.
His speech also made reference to a recent report by the Urban League of Portland entitled The State of Black Oregon—see the Mercury's reporting on it here. "50 years after the sit-ins of the 1960s, this report shows we are free but not equal," he said.
Jackson cited statistics from the Urban League report showing African Americans make up 10 percent of the state's prison population, but just 2 percent of its population. He criticized the under-representation of African Americans on the police bureau and in the fire department here in Portland.
Jackson says he has called upon the Department of Justice to look into the Campbell shooting. "We think this case is really national," he said. "There's a pattern of this going on in police departments that does rise to the level of a national concern. This is an act of terror."
During the rally, Jackson paid tribute to Marva Campbell-Davis, mother of the shot man. He asked all of Campbell's relatives to stand and shouted "show them your love...show them your support...your support...your support," as the crowd of over 1000 cheered. "We've allowed death to do what life did not do for us, and that is bring us together," he said. "If Aaron were alive tonight we would not be here. Honoring suffering is redemptive. His innocent blood cries out to us tonight. This is a redemptive moment. It's not just about skin, it's about sin. It's not just about black and white, it's about wrong and right."
"The police are called to protect and serve," Jackson continued. "Not be judge, jury and executioner."
"There is a pattern in these killings," he said. "Invariably these are black victims and white police who feel empowered to engage in this behavior. They do not need more training, they need to face a judge and a jury."
"Blacks and browns can't get on the police department," he continued. "Because they can't pass the test. But when a white police officer shoots somebody they say he needs more training. Well they can't have it both ways."
Update,9:25 Speaking of noon:
AMA COALITION FOR JUSTICE AND POLICE REFORM
c/o Albina Ministerial Alliance, Dr. T Allen Bethel, President, Maranatha Church 503-288-7241
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 16, 2010
Press Contact: Dr. T. Allen Bethel
Senior Pastor Maranatha Church 503-288-7241
COMMUNITY TO RALLY IN RESPONSE TO OFFICER FRASHOUR'S WORK STATUS
Officer Who Shot Aaron Campbell Scheduled to Return to Work Wednesday
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 12:00 Noon
Portland OR,—Responding to a call to action by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform will join other community members on the steps of Portland's Justice Center (SW 3rd Ave between Main and Madison) on Wednesday, February 17 at 12 noon to address the City's decision regarding returning Officer Ron Frashour to work. Frashour, who shot the unarmed Aaron Campbell in the back on January 29th, is scheduled to return to work Wednesday morning. Rev. Jackson decried the lack of diversity in thoroughness of the grand jury in the incident, and said Frashour's presence on the force until due process has run its course investigating the shooting will not help the community nor the other officers.
Rev. Jackson and members of the AMA met with City leaders on Tuesday and urged them not to return Frashour to work. The results of that discussion will unfold on Wednesday, and members of the AMA Coalition will address the City's decision.
During Tuesday night's rally at the Maranatha Church, Pastor Leroy Haynes called for the community to come together on the steps of the Justice Center in one of the steps Rev. Jackson referred to as a "marathon, not a sprint" to reform the Portland Police Bureau, bring justice to the family of Aaron Campbell and establish equal treatment to people of color by police.
AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform is urging community members to attend the rally.