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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sad news gets sadder

The guy who died in police custody in Portland over the weekend had reportedly been tasered by officers shortly before he died. Funny how that little detail has been slow to emerge.

This is starting to sound like the deranged guy who recently bought the farm after being tasered at Sandy and 20th a while back. "Here we go again," again.

Comments (19)

The previous incident was back in March of this year. One reaction to it back then was posted here. A more neutral news account is here.

Officers called for medical help, saying Chasse was having breathing problems. He was checked out and taken to Multnomah County Detention Center where, according to Dolbey, he showed more difficulty breathing. Chasse was taken to a local hospital in a police car but lost consciousness on the way, police said.

So he's having breathing problems, they check him out, he's STILL having breathing problems (after being tasered), and they take him to a local hospital IN A SQUAD CAR? Why not an ambulance, staffed with, you know, people who are trained to assist people who are having trouble breathing? Unreal.

This is Jose Santos Victor Mejia Poot's city and we're just passing through.

I honestly think that the tazer had very little to do with his death. What did?Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome: Any death of a person in police custody. It has been shown to be related to many causes, including chokeholds, positional asphyxia & OC Pepper Spray. However, the most recent theory includes a phenomenon called ‘acute exhaustive mania’ or ‘excited delirium’. He was allegedly very combative & excited (for the lack of a better word at 10 p.m.), which leads me to believe this:
The cycle can be induced by pre-existing psychiatric disorders that precipitate psychosis, non-compliance with essential psychiatric medications such as lithium, and more commonly, steady & prolonged use of amphetamines, PCP, ecstasy & LSD.
I am having a hard time thinking that the first paramedic did not transport a patient that had been fighting, was tazered, having TROUBLE BREATHING, and that was that 'amped up'. I am having even more of a hard time with the fact that he was not transported to the hospital by ambulance, instead of being thrown in the back of a squad car, when the jail would not accept him and he was having TROUBLE BREATHING. Difficulty breathing will get you an ambulance lights & siren any day of the week. I would hazard a guess that the original use of a Tazer is justified, but not obtaining adequate medical attention is not.
BTW, I am a Paramedic, and have written our protocol on Tazers, which includes the info listed above.

Everything in the foregoing message actually militates against the use of the Taser, no? If life is that fragile, so capable of interruptus by the other forces of police force -- why in God's sake are we still using the Taser per course?

Something's wrong. Who's going to stand up to this? Are we this docile?

Slingshots instead of Tasers? Make the officers wear sandals instead of jack-boots (de-militarize the uniform)?

Or maybe we should take the same amount of money spent on Tasers and put it towards building a Zen Garden in the PEARL.

Oh wait, we did that. Peace.

Pablo - Because the Tazer is better than shooting someone? I've never used one, never had one used on me. I've seen people that it's been used on, and have treated them. All I'm saying is there should be some better oversight and appropriate medical attention for those that fall into the listed categories.

The official investigation will reveal it was all 'by the book'.

The best way to solve this can best be said as such:

Quit breaking the law.

I agree the cops lately have had some questionable tactics. But can we also agree that if you werent doing something that required their attendance, it would not be an issue?

Sure Jon cuz we know the police never make mistakes and grab the wrong guy.

And your attitude can save us a ton of money who needs those expenisve courts and trials, since anybody the police targets must be guilty they can just kill them all.

Growing up in St. Johns I've been involved in at least 10 cases of officers mistaken me for a goblin they were looking for. I've had a police shotgun inches from my temple on more than one occasion. Of course this was during the 90's, when they weren't issued tasers. I have to say, considering what the real suspects did and who they were (in most cases we knew, St Johns is a small community) I felt their actions were 100% justified. I've never once had a problem with the police that wasn't quickly resolved by politeness and a willingness to straighten the situation on my part. Every time I've seen a case of mistaken identity escalate it was when the person responded with attitude and/or non-compliance. These officers put their lives on the line every day dealing with people that hopefully you never have to be involved with.

As for the not being taken to a hospital when complaining of difficulty breathing, it sounds like there was probably more that could've been done. I'd rather wait to hear the whole story (if that ever happens with the Portland media) before passing judgement.

"Excited delirium" was used as an excuse for killing (after first tasering) Fouad Kaady a year ago. Kaady was naked, burned and bleeding - and sitting catatonic in the road - when cops arrived. Kaady had none of the "pre-existing psychiatric disorders that precipitate psychosis, non-compliance with essential psychiatric medications such as lithium, and more commonly, steady & prolonged use of amphetamines, PCP, ecstasy & LSD." Yet that is what's consistently given as reason.

I can't wait to see Gerry Spence take on police procedure in Oregon.

"Excited Delirium" is not an excuse for killing someone. It is a state that screams for prompt, appropriate medical attention.
Based on the latest story today, he was also 'hog-tied' and placed in the original patrol car and taken to jail. That would indicate another extremely dangerous tactic, one that leads fairly often to positional asphyxia and death. Sounds like many mistakes were made that evening.

It seems the police are investigating this as a homicide.

Well, I witnessed the entire incident. It was NOT "by the book!" And yes, Police have a difficult job, but its still a job, that ALL taxpayers contribute to. And with that comes their training also. So, pray tell, what kind of training are they recieving that allows them to kick the victim, in the back of the skull, while punching him in the face, and tasing him AT THE SAME TIME!?!? This whole incident was handled horribly, and yes, the cops killed him, the paramedics killed him, and I hope they can live with his blood on their hands. Literally. The cop punching him in the face, got his blood on his hands. He wasnt wearing his gloves. Hope the victim didnt pass anything on to the face puncher.

But, it comes down to this. If the US government is going to allow torture of suspected terrorists, then we can safely say, that James Phillip Chasse Jr, was a terrorist? No. He was just another person who made some wrong choices in their life, and payed the ultimate price for it. I guess we allow our cops to be Judge, Jury and Executioner. Didnt we?

The previous "victim" (at Sandy and 20th), Tim Grant, was running in and out of traffic on a boulevard, out of his mind on cocaine.

The police were called to try and get him off this very busy street. If they had just stood on the curb and waited for him to get hit by a car, would you all would be applauding Portland's Finest for their restraint. Or maybe they should have just closed Sandy until he decided to climb into the patrol car?

Those who spend much of their life high on drugs or drunk in public are likely to decrease their longevity.

It's not always the cop's fault just because he was present at the final act of self-destruction.

[quote]Those who spend much of their life high on drugs or drunk in public are likely to decrease their longevity.[/quote]

Kinda like the Head of the OLCC?

I think there are two different stories here. Mr. Chase and Mr. Grant died of two different causes, neither related to tasers. Mr. Chase obviously died of blunt force truama, which is where the real discussion should be. Mr. Grant died because he was loaded on cocaine... did the taser contribute to his death? Maybe, but that doesn't make it unreasonable to use. People on drugs fight harder because they feel less pain and aren't thinking rationally. The alternative to the taser would have been a baton or asp, which is much more likely to cause injury or death. Tasers don't kill people who aren't already medically unstable. Just ask any officer who carries one, almost every one has taken a full hit off of the identical model he or she carries, and not one officer has ever been killed doing it.

You also have to remember, the cops doing it to "themselves' arent using it to stop themselves. They are only testing it out. When applied in the "real world", its however, used to put someone down. In the case of James Chasse, they held the button down for an incredible amount of time, compounded with the blows to the head and chest, and the kicks to the back of the head. So, yea, a taser would kill someone, if used to do just that. Hell, a gun wont outright kill someone, if they were just "testing" it out on themselves too. "So Jim, just shoot that gun in my foot, that wont kill me, right?" See. Its testing vs. real world application. Things are always different on paper than they are when they are applied.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Sad news gets sadder:

» Uh oh from Jack Bog's Blog
The O's Maxine Bernstein has the latest on the death of James Chasse in Portland police custody Sunday night. And the news is not good. When a story dribbles out like this, it's a bad sign. Mayor Potter, perhaps your "vision" of Portland needs to incl... [Read More]


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