"We have a growing problem in the Portland Police Bureau that won't go away," said Dr. Leroy Haynes. "As we sort through preliminary evidence and conflicting testimonies between the police and citizens who witnessed the incident—at the end of the day, we still have a young African-American male with a mental health disorder dead and a police officer wounded."
Haynes promised that if the city investigation was too slow, the Albina Ministerial Alliance would launch its own independent investigation of the incident, as it did after the Kendra James shooting. "We still have no report from the Aaron Campbell shooting. We hope that this will not be another 3-year process," said Haynes.
Asked how this shooting compared to Aaron Campbell's, Haynes noted that although Keaton Otis allegedly shot an officer in the leg, police accounts incorrectly alleged that unarmed Aaron Campbell had a gun on him when he was shot by police. "We have the story of the police line, but we have yet to hear the story of witnesses at the scene," said Haynes, adding that he was praying both for the wounded officer and for the family of Otis.
The influential group also strongly criticized Mayor Sam Adams' firing of Chief Rosie Sizer and immediate hiring of Mike Reese as the new chief. Though the Alliance doesn't take any issue with Reese himself, they say the lack of public input into his appointment starts the new more-transparent police bureau off on the wrong foot. "The city of Portland is noted for one thing: citizen participation," scolded Haynes. "That process was circumvented."
This is the third fatal police shooting of a Portlander with mental health issues this year. A memorial service for the second fatality, Jackie Collins, will be held this evening at St. Francis Church. The Alliance is also hosting a sure-to-be-exciting public forum this Thursday, May 20th, called "Let the People Speak: A Community Forum on Police Accountability." The event starts at 7PM at the First Unitarian Church (SW Main and 13th).
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