James Chasse

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James Chasse from his memorial

James Philip Chasse, Jr. (May 7, 1964 – September 17, 2006) was an American singer and writer from Portland, Oregon. In 2006 his death while in the custody of Portland law enforcement officers caused an outcry over civil rights and an examination of the lack of mental health crisis management training given to Portland police officers.[1] At the time of his death, he was living independently and had schizophrenia.[2]

Death[edit]

James Chasse, surrounded by police and medical personnel. He would later die of the injuries inflicted during his arrest.

Chasse died after a physical confrontation with two Portland Police officers and a Multnomah County deputy on September 17, 2006. Officers at the scene described Chasse as a homeless person and said that he ran away from them and fought with them.[1] He was beaten and shot with a Taser multiple times. After the beating, Chasse was cleared medically by fire and ambulance personnel. He was then restrained and driven to jail, where nursing staff refused to admit him because of his injuries. The officers were told by jail staff to drive him to a hospital across town. He died en route.

Chasse suffered fractures in 16 of his ribs and had a total of 26 broken bones, as well as a punctured lung, broken collar bone and torn spleen.[1] The Multnomah County Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death to be "blunt force trauma".

Over 500 friends and family members remembered Chasse at a candlelight vigil and memorial on October 14, 2006.[3][4]

Reports[edit]

After three years and public pressure, the Portland Police Bureau released an internal investigation on the death of James Chasse. The investigation included six items, a "detective notebook"[5] with six photos by witness Jamie Marquez, two separate two page disciplinary letters[6] to Portland Police officers Kyle Nice and Christopher Humpherys, suspending them for 80 hours without pay. Both were disciplined for unacceptable conduct, violation of Taser policy. After arbitration in July 2012 with the police union, both letters were revoked and Nice and Humphreys were repaid for time lost.[7] "IAD" or "Internal Affairs Division"[8] is a 389 page report including witness, expert and officer interviews, case chronology and exhibits. Detectives included Portland's training[9] manual about mental illness, and a 623 page narrative (archived here in three parts)[10][11][12] review of Chasse's killing with redacted training materials.

The city's auditor commissioned an investigation[13] on the investigation of the death of James Chasse in July 2010.[14]

Public outcry[edit]

Chasse's death produced an outcry in the Oregon media, with hundreds of news stories, editorials and front page articles following the case, and from civil rights and health advocates. Although Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk failed to bring an indictment against the officers, he did release all testimony presented to the grand jury. Portland mayor Tom Potter apologized to the Chasse family, convened a Mental Health Task Force to review the city's policies, and implemented a crisis intervention training program to improve the way in which city and county police respond to situations involving mental illness, but failed to discipline the officers who beat Chasse: Kyle Nice, Christopher Humphreys and Bret Barton.

A documentary film, Alien Boy: the Life and Death of James Chasse, about James Chasse by Oregon filmmaker Brian Lindstrom premiered February 15, 2013, in Portland, Oregon.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Why Did James Chasse Jr. Die?". Willamette Week. 2006-11-01. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  2. ^ "Why Did James Chasse die?". Portland Tribune. 2008-09-11. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  3. ^ "Chasse family says police distorted facts". Portland Police Bureau. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  4. ^ "Remarks From The Memorial Of James Chasse, Jr.". Chuck Currie. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  5. ^ "Detective Notebook". Portland Police Bureau. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  6. ^ "Disciplinary". Portland Police Bureau. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  7. ^ "Arbitrator reverses discipline against Chris Humphreys, Sgt. Kyle Nice in the Chasse case". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  8. ^ "Internal Affairs Division". Portland Police Bureau. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  9. ^ "Mental Health Training Materials". Portland Police Bureau. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  10. ^ "Review of PPB Case 06-84962 James Chasse 1 of 3". Portland Police Bureau. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  11. ^ "Review of PPB Case 06-84962 James Chasse 2 of 3". Portland Police Bureau. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  12. ^ "Review of PPB Case 06-84962 James Chasse 3 of 3". Portland Police Bureau. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  13. ^ "Report to the City of Portland Concerning the In-Custody Death of James Chasse". OIR Group. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  14. ^ "Portland auditor launching review of investigation into Chasse death". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  15. ^ Alien Boy - A documentary film about James Chasse