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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Judge Advances Trial in Campbell Shooting, but Peels Off Two Defendants

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 5:53 PM

While I was at City Hall for today's police accountability hearing, the Oregonian's Maxine Bernstein was minding the latest legal twist in the federal civil rights case filed against the city of Portland and four police officers involved in last year's shooting death of Aaron Campbell.

According to her story, U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman today turned down a dismissal motion by fired Portland officer Ron Frashour, the cop who actually killed Campbell by shooting him in the back with an AR-15 rifle.

But he did agree to drop charges against two other officers: Sergeants John Birkinbine and Liani Reyna. The sergeants were suspended last year because of communications gaffes that led to Campbell's death. One last officer, Ryan Lewton, who fired a beanbag at Campbell that caused him to flinch, leading Frashour to pull his trigger, remains a defendant.

In a rare show of discipline, Frashour was fired last November, with Lewton, Reyna, and Birkinbine each given 80-hour suspensions, for their roles in Campbell's death. The Portland Police Association has challenged the police bureau's discipline, including Frashour's dismissal. After months of intermittent hearings, an arbitrator is expected to rule as soon as January. The federal trial, filed by Campbell's family, is currently scheduled to start in February.

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