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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Compounding the "tragedy"

It's not enough to beat and stomp an innocent man to death -- let's illegally withhold documents about it. Paging Mayor Potter -- is this o.k. with you?

Comments (17)

For more:


And here.

“It appeared, it appeared that Officer Humphreys kind of landed slightly off of the subject,”

...kind of like the grand jury investigation...

But I thought Sizer stated publicly that the PPB was "disappointed" by the delay in the grand jury's decision because they "have been anxious to share all of the factual information regarding this investigation."

When will liars learn that the less said the better. The more these "leaders" say, the deeper hole they dig for themselves.

The official version is finally out. Maximum Maxine has it here.

"I pulled my right foot back and kicked him in the upper chest," Nice said.

O.K. now we are getting somewhere. A high velocity boot stomp to the chest of a person laying on the ground could easily break several ribs. I had one rib fractured this way by a bare foot opponent in a martial arts tournament, and he was (supposedly) trying to control his kick in an effort to not seriously hurt me. It doesn't seem reasonable to conclude that the initial fall to the ground caused anything more than superficial injuries.

I doubt that paramedics were told that Mr. Chasse started his blood curdling screams and then lost consciousness soon after the stomp fest. I just can't get over how the cops can claim that they missed the fact that Mr. Chasse was seriously injured because the rib fractures had to have been causing him excruciating pain. Also screaming when you have 16 broken ribs and a punctured lung would make the pain unbearable. He probably passed out from the pain (shock)since there doesn't seem to be any documentation of any kind of serious head injury. Boot stomped to death by the police...hell of a way to die.

I still want to know if Potter really didn't get called, who on his staff got fired?

Brutality aside, Ms. Bernstein's scenario points up a paradoxically stunning degree of sheer ignorance among some local public safety employees, and evidently, some AMT EMTs.

Unconsciousness means that something very severe has happened to the brainstem. Sometimes it's from head trauma or epilepsy; sometimes it's having no blood sugar, oxygen or blood flow in the brain; and sometimes it's because of medications, drugs or chemicals.

Unconsciousness means all life sustaining backup systems are about to fail, such as automatic breathing, heart function and keeping vomit out of the lungs. In short, once one is unconscious, the only thing yet to occur is death.

Anybody who becomes unconscious needs to be evaluated by a doctor...an MD.

Temporarily regaining consciousness is a good sign, but it doesn't rule out progression of an underlying lethal problem.

This is information simple enough that that any grade school graduate could learn it, understand it and apply it in everyday life.

I only write this in the hope someone might benefit from the perspective.

James Chasse was murdered by three men who happened to have badges and that's the bottom line. The rest is just extra garbage diverting you from that bottom line. I've been posting contact info for Rosie Sizer and the Independent Police Reivew on various forums and blogs this morning because it's really time to make our displeasure known. I'm not a criminal, but when I see a cop I tend to walk the other way too, is that grounds for a beating, possibly death? I don't think so. If you don't either, write or call:

Independent Police Review:

1221 SW 4th Ave, Rm 320
Portland, OR 97204
phone: 503-823-0146
fax: 503-823-3530

Chief Rosie Sizer:

Chief's Office Phone, 503-823-0000

Chief's Office Fax, 503-823-0342


Throughout the fight, Chasse uttered what Humphreys called a "blood-curdling" open-mouthed scream, like "Aaah!" and screamed "No" three times.

Help me out on this one, because my Googling is failing me. I have a very very distinct recollection of an early story in this case reporting that the officers had said they thought Chasse was yelling "no" because he was afraid the cops were going to take his backpack. Today's article, based on the interview transcripts, says not one thing about that early police contention.

Can anyone find that earlier article?

"I pulled my right foot back and kicked him in the upper chest," Nice said.
Kicked to death by Officer Nice. Life is so full of ironies it makes me want to laugh and cry. In the words of the immortal Joni Mitchell it's 'the same release'

"Oh, he's pissin'," Humphreys said to his partner. The officer made note that they were entering the revitalized Pearl District, a high-density area of restaurants and businesses.


If he'd have done the same thing south of Burnside, he'd probably be alive today. I wonder if stomping mentally ill, homeless people to death is what the Supreme Court had in mind in Wardlow.

I dunno, do you think getting stomped to death is more, or less, intrusive than a Terry stop?

Yep. I was waiting for someone to point that out. The cops probably would have just laughed about it and drove on by if they saw a bum taking a leak on a bush over near East Burnside and MLK. The police don't even come out to investigate auto accidents and stolen bikes, etc., but if the $9 cocktail crowd at the Blue Hour might see a derelict watering a bush it turns into a death sentence. Of course none of this is a big surprise because we know where the priorities are in this town. It's all about the green baby...don't forget it.

Hey b!X - I remember that too, but not where. Nice's statement (pg 20) talks about the backpack briefly tho...

Ah ha- I found it! It's the .pdf "fact sheet on the incident" the cops issued. Here's the address: (sorry, my links don't seem to work over here?)


Last year, I represented a young man in a Federal police misconduct case against the Portland Police. The claims in that case alleged that Officer Humphreys and three other Portland officers stood over a 19 year old man and beat him with a flashlight, a steel baton, boots, fists, pepper spray, and three tazer deployments. Officer Humphreys struck the young man across the shins and midsection with a steel baton about 30 times during the incident. I certainly would not object to someone calling Officer Humphreys "overzealous" in his use of force.

All the while the young man screamed for "help." Independent witnesses described the screams as horrific. Independent witnesses stated that the young man did not "resist" the officers and that the young man was simply trying to protect himself from the officer violence. By the way, it was a case of mistaken identity; the young man did not commit an underlying crime to lead to the officer melee.

In March 2006, the city took a sizable judgment against itself on the above case in return for dismissal against the individual officers. City Coucil reviewed the settlement before it was approved. For me, this settlement brings up two major points when though about in the context of the Chasse incident:

1. Prior to the Chasse incident, City Council was on notice that there were serious allegations of excessive force againt Officer Humphreys; AND
2.The City has already taken a bullet for Officer Humphries in the past, i.e. negotiated a deal that protected him from personal culpability for violent actions.

So now I have a couple of questions:
1. What does the City do when it takes a judgment against itself for its more "aggressivs" officers? After the judgment, did the City require that Humphreys be re-trained on the use of force or did they just send him back on his next shift?
2. How powerful is the Portland Police Union? Too Powerful?

One more thing: Portland Police are trained in many things. They are forced to take a number of mandatory classes, such as shooting guns, executing distraction strikes (i.e. how to make kicks and punches most effective), using steel batons, and using minor traffic violations as a pretext to stop young men who wear their pants too low. Every officer takes classes on the above subject matter. There are also a number of optional classes. Many officers do not take these classes. As of last I was aware, there is an OPTIONAL class on officer contact with mentally ill individuals, that trains the officer in how to appropriately manage interactions with folks who suffer from mental illness. I would bet my dollars against anyone's doughnuts that our Chasse Officers did not sign up for that class. With a certain lawusit to follow the Chasse incident, I wonder how much the City coffers will have to bleed, not to metnion mentally ill people brutalized, to make up for this lapse of judgment on the part of police officer training.

A few points:

Bob has a great idea on police getting some basic medical training. That might help future interactions between cops and medics, let alone cops and suspects. As is, Portland cops get about zero medical training. They're CPR-certified but no cars have masks so Portland cops almost never perform CPR due to legitimate health fears.

Mr. Evia, there appears no underlying crime against Chasse either. His booking charges listed only post-Terry events. Well, I'm assuming the officers were using Terry since if they had PC they'd have listed it on the booking sheet given to jail. That's basic CYA for any resist or APSO charges.

From what I've observed, the City examines cops' excessive force situations on a case-by-case basis. Cops might be disciplined, they might not. It's a bit of a mystery, meaning it's ripe for arbitrary, capricious or friendly enforcement.

A big part of the problem here stems from the Portland Police Bureau lacking an employee review program. You read that correctly--no reviews. I've read that no other major city's police force does that. I think the City likes it that way because less employee performance documentation makes their pseudo-objective promotion "system" more likely to stand up in court.

Oh, and taking a "mandatory class [about] using minor traffic violations as a pretext to stop young men who wear their pants too low"? Well, I guess I missed that day because I never had it.

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