Portland: Police Union doesn’t want Frashour transcript to see “light of day”

Portland Mercury. July 5:

Police Union Boss: City doesn’t want Frashour transcripts “to Ever See The Light Of Day”

A month ago, Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner lobbed a grenade at City Hall when he went public with confidential details and inflammatory accusations in a bid to sway public sentiment against the city’s fight to keep Ron Frashour, the cop fired for shooting Aaron Campbell in 2010, from getting his job back.

The city later threatened to sue to the union over the disclosures, the Mercury reported. And now, this month, in his latest post to his union’s newsletter, the Rap Sheet, Turner’s decided to throw a few more rocks at Mayor Sam Adams’ window.

At one point, he rips Adams’ plan to have City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade review testimony from Frashour’s arbitration hearing, saying it “doesn’t pass the smell test” and implying the auditor, who’s elected on her own and not appointed by Adams, wouldn’t be independent enough.

Having the Portland City Auditor conduct the investigation is not an independent investigation. This is the same City Auditor who asked for and received $250,000 of taxpayer money to pay the OIR Group to review several officer involved shootings over the past decade, including Officer Frashour’s. This is the same OIR Group that praised Lt. King’s training review of Officer Frashour’s conduct, the same training review by Lt. King that was riddled with holes, omissions, incorrect information, and the stench of politics.

Mayor Adams took full credit for having the U.S. Department of Justice review Officer Frashour’s use of deadly force. Theirs was one of five independent investigations that found no misconduct by Officer Frashour. Now, when an investigation into the management of the Police Bureau is needed, the City’s own Auditor’s Office is, according to the Mayor, independent enough. This doesn’t pass the smell test. Mayor Adams has made it clear that he doesn’t want this investigation and the arbitration transcripts outside the walls of City Hall.

Earlier, Turner grumbles about whether it’s okay to share details from Frashour’s arbitration hearing or not. He says, despite the city’s stance on the matter, that releasing transcripts and exhibits from the hearing doesn’t run counter to a court seal covering documents in a related civil case on the Campbell shooting. That stuff is after the jump.

But before you click, don’t forget whom the union is trying to reach with this stuff: It’s you, the voters, but it’s also Adams’ fellow city commissioners. Because they’re the ones who’ll get to decide later this summer, if and when the city loses its bid to keep from rehiring Frashour, whether to send the fight into the court system.

Over the past few years, the Portland Police Bureau has preached two mantras — integrity and transparency. Unfortunately, we have seen neither with respect to Officer Frashour. As many of you know, the City has protested the release of the transcripts from the arbitration process. You can be assured; there is nothing in any federal court order (or anything else for that matter) that prevents the immediate release of the transcripts. The City could release the transcripts today if it chose to do so.

Instead of releasing the transcripts and giving the community and Bureau members the full picture of what occurred during the arbitration hearing, the City is doing everything it can to prevent the transcripts from being released. The question you have to ask is, “Why is the City taking that position?” After all, the City was quick to release Officer Frashour’s Grand Jury testimony, Internal Affairs investigation, the Training Division Review, and his termination letter to the public. And, if I remember right, the Bureau posted those materials on its web page before Officer Frashour could even make the drive from the Justice Center to his home after being terminated by Chief Reese.

There’s only one possible answer as to why the City is fighting the release of the transcripts. The City doesn’t want what’s in those transcripts to ever see the light of day. The transcripts contain the testimony of witnesses, show how witnesses answered questions on cross-examination, and contain descriptions of exhibits like the drafts of the Training Division Review. The transcripts show beyond all doubt that the decision to fire Officer Frashour was wrong and politically motivated from the beginning. In the world of the City, though, it never makes a wrong decision, and so the transcripts must be suppressed.

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