Rallying for a victim of Portland police

February 25, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore.--Some 500 protesters gathered in Pioneer Square to protest the murder of Aaron Campbell by Portland police.

Campbell, a 25-year-old unarmed African American, was shot in the back on January 29. He had been at the apartment of his girlfriend, who had called police when he appeared to be suicidal. Yet Aaron was walking out of the apartment backward with his hands on his head when police shot him six times with beanbag rounds.

Witnesses say Aaron dropped his hands, probably because of the pain of being it with the beanbag rounds, when Officer Ronald Frashour, shot him once in the back with an AR 15 rifle. Frashour claimed Aaron was reaching for a gun in his waistband, but no gun was found. He was handcuffed and left on the ground for half an hour before he was given medical attention.

The march was kicked off by Rev. Reneé Ward, one of the organizers of the protest, who spoke out against racism and the use of repeated excessive force by the police. Protesters then marched down Broadway toward Portland State University where a rally was held.

Members of Aaron Campbell's family and community spoke about the importance of continuing this struggle. Marva Davis, Aaron's mother, spoke briefly, saying, "I want to see justice. I want to see fairness. I don't want to see this happen to anyone's family again."

This is just one death in a long history of excessive force used by Portland Police Bureau. Police have killed Kendra James, James Perez, José Mejía Poot and James Chasse, but none of the officers involved have been indicted for any crime. We have to keep up the pressure to win justice for Aaron Campbell.

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