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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Uh oh

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 include something better than this.

Comments (30)

Very sad to read the name and see the picture first on your blog Jack. I knew Jim Jim for 25+ years off and on. He was a gentle soul at all times, a man who was kind and calm and loved music - especially anything from the Velvet Underground. Back the about 1977 or 1978 Jim even fronted a band - I think it was called the Psychedelic Combo. Played at The Long Goodbye on 10th and NW Everett. I remember long talks in front of the Central Library - often drifting away in the breeze.

This is a sad day for Jim Jim, for his family, for all the people who helped him over the years, and for the police officers who evidentially have been instructed from the wrong book.

What role did Jim play in the choices that led him to be confronted by the Police?

Is it possible that Jim was resisting arrest, thereby escalating the level of force deployed by the officers?

Is personal responsibility limited to the officers and deep pockets?

Perhaps Paul Harvey will bring us "The Rest of the Story" as there are some Big holes to fill in this news.

The man was yelling, "I won't, I won't. I won't get on my stomach," and kept struggling with the officers, the witnesses said.

Sounds like resisting to me...

Is it possible that Jim was resisting arrest, thereby escalating the level of force deployed by the officers?

Yes, it is possible, and it sounds like that's what was going on. However, just as in the shooting in Tigard recently, it sounds as though the cops in question used excessively poor judgement as to the appropriate "level of force." And, in this case, they also apparently erred in bringing him back to the station in a squad car rather than letting him go with the medics.

""They were yelling at him to get on his stomach."
I think Miss Manners should assist in writing the new book on Police Procedures. They should have said 'Please Mofo down on your stomach.' Just a suggestion.

This is a pretty sad story to read. I work downtown in a facility that serves the homeless mentally ill and, in my five years in that job, I have been present dozens and dozens of times when cops have come to engage our clients (whether we called the cops ourselves or the cops became involved in some other way) and I suppose we've been lucky because the cops I've watched have almost always been pretty great. Once upon a time some of those cops used to recieve something called "crisis intervention training" which was meant to teach them how to engage (specifically) mentally ill people in non-lethal ways. I think that training has long since gone away, but the spirit of it has persisted among many downtown cops. Although, this is certainly a departure. Resisting arrest is definitely troubling, but I'd like to see the policy book that suggests repeatedly kicking a subject in the stomach to help control him.

My father always said if you live right, eat right, say no to the deadliest drugs on Earth (beer and alcohol) and do what the cops command, you'll live to be 100.

Of course, he never boarded our new tram on a cold, rainy, windy winter's night, did he?

A few points:

The Crisis Intervention Training program still exists but few cops take it. It means taking extra calls, extra paperwork, often involves leaving your district so others cover for you and offers no monetary reward for the additional hassle. This leads me to believe Portland Police Bureau management isn't serious about CIT.

When a suspect fights it means a potentially life-threatening situation for an officer. From the article, this guy did more than resist--he fought and attacked. The "official" hand-to-hand fighting methods taught by Portland are as useful as any martial art's "moves". In other words, hardly at all. Unlike movies, real fights don't have scripts and cops don't have Vulcan pinches. Kicks to the stomach can be appropriate if it matches the authorized level of force.

It was claimed cops erred "in bringing him back to the station in a squad car rather than letting him go with the medics"? Portland cops never stop medics from providing medical care. According to the article medics arrived on scene. Indeed, it must've been at the officers' request. If the suspect went with police then the medics either cleared the guy or the guy refused further medical care.

RE: the Tigard shooting being "excessively poor judgement" [sic]. A guy with a knife threatens to kill people, says "Someone's gonna die tonight", behaves consistent with such proclamations, refuses to disarm and then starts heading out of view and into close proximity with innocents. Would you let him go inside and potentially kill people?

Armchair quarterbacks like to think "I'd have handled that differently", and by "differently" they think "perfectly". Well, there almost never is a perfect way to handle something. Policing isn't calculus or physics. People--and believe it or not cops are people--can take different yet reasonable approaches. The issue isn't whether a cop does something you like or not, it's whether it was legal and reasonable.

Armchair quarterbacks like to think "I'd have handled that differently", and by "differently" they think "perfectly".

It's not so much that I am thinking "I'd have handled that differently," rather "I wish our police department was adequately trained to handle that differently." I hate to rehash the Tigard thing, but go listen to the 911 call: the cops show up and start screaming at the kid, telling him they're going to shoot. Witnesses say their guns were drawn immediately, and they immediately went into a very aggressive mode...and this is with a kid who they KNEW was drunk and suicidal.

Also, re. this case: the cops didn't send him with the medics, and then when they finally got around to deciding that he needed medical care (after his SECOND bout of breathing difficulties at the jail), they took him to the hospital in a squad car. A squad car. Not being a cop, I don't know this for sure, but I'm guessing that there wasn't a trained medical professional in the back seat with him.

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. And, frankly, I'd rather be an armchair quarterback than an armchair apologist.

"My father always said if you live right, eat right, say no to the deadliest drugs on Earth (beer and alcohol) and do what the cops command, you'll live to be 100."

If you don't die of boredom at 50.

I must say Ricky's right, in a way, because as poet William S. Burroughs once said:

"You have to be a deviant in America or you will die of boredom."

But seriously, I wonder if the dead guy, Jimmy C, would have chosen to listen to the cops had he known his absolute refusal would be the last in a life-long series of mistakes he has made on Earth.


Actually, to more accurately convey the point of the quote:

"In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or exist in extreme boredom... Make no mistake, all intellectuals are deviants in the U.S."

Assume that this guy was on crack. Assume that he didn't want to turn over on his stomach for the cops. Assume that he tried to run away and didn't want to go to jail on a drug charge. "Resisting arrest" is not carte blanche for the cops to execute people in a free society. There is no evidence to suggest that he was armed or dangerous or otherwise presented an imminent threat of serious bodily harm to anyone. He was uncooperative. Two eyewitnesses who have filed formal complaints against the officers involved in the incident felt that the level of force used to neutralize this guy was excessive. More troubling, is that after he went into what sounds like temporary respiratory failure for several minutes, he wasn't take by ambulance to an emergency room for appropriate medical treatment. Witnesses reportedly heard him beg the paramedics not to leave the scene. The cops subsequently loaded him into their squad car like a dead deer with his hands and feet bound, and he died in transit. Sounds like the cops screwed up on this one as well as the paramedics who prematurely abandoned a patient in need of treatment.

After rereading the article and comments regarding the Chasse death, it appears Dave and I are speaking about different situations.

The article said the locations occurred in this order: scene, jail, 33/Sandy on the way to Adventist. Dave originally said the cops were taking the guy to the "station", which I thought meant jail. By his second comment, I guess he meant Adventist. The two situations are quite different. I was speaking about the first.

The odds of having a medic in the backseat on the way to Adventist approach zero.

"Hog-tying" is reserved for the most combative suspects and is rarely done.

There are so many questions left. It's wayyy too soon to make an informed analysis. Blame, if any, cannot be properly allocated yet.

Anahit--here's what I was referring to:

The officers requested medical attention for Chase because he appeared to be having trouble breathing. After being medically evaluated, Chase was taken to the Multnomah County Detention Center to be booked on charges of resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer and interfering with a police officer. Police say he continued to battle with corrections officers.

While at the booking facility, Chase again had breathing problems. Because of his difficulty breathing, Chase was taken by patrol car to a local hospital and at some point, appeared to lose consciousness. The transporting officers tried to resuscitate Chase, and medical personnel eventually took over. Chase was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Well, being one of the few witness's, who actually took pictures of the aftermath, I can safely say, this was handled VERY POORLY! What all the reports are failing to say, was that James, the victim, was repeatedly kicked in the back of the head, also. So, picture this, being tased, being punched in the face, and being kicked in the back of the head. Is that deescaltion tactics 101? Or is that the allowed torture that seems to rampant in our government now? I dont know what anyone did to deserve to be brutally beaten by cops, RIGHT IN THE FRICKEN PEARL!!! The supposed posh posh sheik part of Portland. I have given my statements to several sources, and I hope the justice is served. Even if it means the cops have to serve 10k hours of community service for Sisters of the Road!

And to the gentleman who knew the victim, can you tell me a little bit more about him? Is there going to be a memorial service for him?

Interesting background on an eyewitness to the alleged excessive use of force...The Rev. Randall Stewart (quoted by KGW tonight) was ordained in the "Alliance of Divine Love, Inc." Church. I didn't know that churces could incorporate?

"My father always said if you live right, eat right, say no to the deadliest drugs on Earth (beer and alcohol) and do what the cops command, you'll live to be 100."

As someone said elsewhere:
Does that include when they ask to see your tattoo?

As someone said elsewhere:
Does that include when they ask to see your tattoo?

Yes, it does.
Then you file a complaint, and/or sue.
That way, you live.

"Then you file a complaint, and/or sue.
That way, you live."

Yes, of course, because we know the cops never hurt or kill people by mistake, unnecessarily or without just cause, right? That must be why they're investigating this as a homicide.

But then again, you also wrote:
"But can we also agree that if you werent doing something that required their attendance, it would not be an issue?"

No, Jon, I cannot agree with that.

First of all, I guess you've never heard of DWB - Driving While Black, huh?

Secondly, that mentality smacks of the same that says it's OK for the NSA to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens, because if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.

Finally, as far as this case goes, according to the latest, this transient's "odd behavior" led officers to him.

So now "odd behavior" requires "the attendance" of cops now, does it?

Now, the story is that they thought he might have been urinating in the street. But they told witnesses he was being arrested for possession of crack cocaine.

How many civil remedies does a corpse have, Jon?

The latest:

Blunt force trauma is what killed a man in Portland Police custody, according to the state medical examiner.

Officials say James Chasse died from a broad blow to the chest, and have ruled the death accidental. A toxicology report also came back negative.

Police took Chasse into custody Sunday night after a confrontation in Northwest Portland. Officers said he was acting odd or may have been intoxicated.

Blunt force. I.e., getting punched or kicked in the chest. He was NOT on drugs. Guess acting strange now is all the cops need to kill you.

In looking at the range of comments above, I
am appalled at how many of you are so quick
to believe the "official" version as if it is the truth.
Where have you people been all these years?
Don't you know how bad and often
the cops here tell self-serving lies?
I think it demonstrates you level of IQ if
you're so quick to believe them...very low
and in same range as theirs!

This is so very, very sad. So sad that the police so violently took (yet another) life. So sad that so many people are so brainwahsed by the system that they would strain all credibility to blame the man who was killed rather than the police. It hurts to think about this poor man being kicked in the head and beaten and attacked with tasers, the way witnesses describe. It hurts that people are actually trying to say he "had it coming."

Are we all so willing to believe that the police never do wrong? Is it so easy to live in such a simple world, where the police are the white hats, that we can really look the other way and pretend this man really deserved this?

In my mind, it is sinful to blame the victim of this crime. The fact that the men who did this wore badges only makes it more unforgiveable, not less. I think the people trying to play apologist for them must either be police officers themselves, or they must be unfathomably deluded by the years they've spent soaking up commercials from the corporate media.

As a fitting MEMORIAL for James, why don't
we as a community arrange for a Memorial
showing of the highly acclaimed movie....

It would be very much in keeping with the tragic
nature of his death, and might give the community
a few ideas as how best to combat this growing abuse
of force and police brutality by our local brutes 'n' thugs
that the PoPo have become.

PS: I wonder if any of the cops involved

I see the Indymedia contingent has arrived. So much for polite and intelligent discussion. Prepare for the revolution! Rise up against the murderous pigs! I'll just go hit my head against a wall.

A few clarifications...

James was not transient, he lived in a halfway house for the mentally ill 5 blocks from the scene of his arrest.

James was not on ANYthing, he has suffered from phsycotic illness since his late teens, and was cared for and loved by family and friends.

If somebody had just tackled you to the ground, breaking several ribs, you wouldn't want to lay on your stomach either. James ran in the first place because he was scared, and fought back for the same reason.

Jamiem: now that you're able to channel the Ghost of James into your keyboard, ask him if he was prescribed any anti-phsycotic medications that he should have been taking.

Also: was he receiving any kind of therapy at the halfway house or elsewhere? If everybody knew he was severely mentally ill, it would be a systemic failure if nobody was treating him.

For images and information on WHO Jim Jim (AKA James Chasse) was, check out my short memoire:

He was an artist and a writer, already a the age of 14. He had a franzine which had some great artists contributing to it, like Mike King.

And far from any kind of hopeless throw away!

I knew JimJim in the late 70s, early 80s. I was in a band with him for a short time. a gentle soul.
he may have been problematic with the cops and they got rough. But the autopsy shows a lot more than rough. resisting arrrest does not warrant beatings. miss you JJ.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Uh oh:

» Beaten to death from Jack Bog's Blog
It's late Friday afternoon -- time for all the news that the government doesn't want you to see. Here's the latest from the powers that be on the poor sap who was killed by the Portland police last Sunday: He died of blunt force trauma to the chest. Th... [Read More]


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