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Thursday, October 26, 2006

While we wait

The Portland police bureau's official review of the killing by officers of James Chasse won't be finished for months. And so the final word from the bureau about what happened, and whether the officers broke rules and should be disciplined, won't be available for a long time.

I'm sure there will be some conflicts between that report and what the eyewitnesses said the day after Chasse's death. And in deciding whom to believe in the end, we'll be picking between contemporaneous statements of disinterested onlookers and statements by the accused parties that took many weeks, if not months, to prepare.

In any event, the website Mental Health Portland has now posted transcripts of the officers' initial interviews. The interview of Christopher Humphreys, who reportedly did most (if not all) of the "thumping," is here. (As is customary, the interview with Humphreys wasn't held until three days after Chasse's death.) The interview of Kyle Nice is here. (Nice agreed to be interviewed the evening after Chasse died.) The interview of Brett Burton is here. (Burton was interviewed two days after the incident.) The Mental Health site also has a fairly definitive collection of links to other materials connected with the case.

Meanwhile, we note in passing that Chief Rosie Sizer is lashing out at elements in the community who are posting photos of Humphreys and Nice on telephone poles and giving out their home addresses. I don't know, chief. People have a right to be absolutely outraged by this incident and by your and the mayor's typically defensive response. I'm not sure about the home addresses, but to me the photo posters are fair game. You've heard the saying: No justice, no peace.

Willamette Week has been asking, Why is the Chasse case getting so much more attention than, say, the killing by police of Dennis "Squeaky" Young back in January?

I think there are three reasons. First, Young was driving a stolen car, and for some people (not me) that was relevant. Second, the officer in the Young case was claiming self-defense (although he appears to have violated bureau policy by shooting rather than getting out of the way). And thirdly, there is a cumulative effect of multiple recent police killings, which many feel were not justified: Poot, James, Perez, Young, Chasse, and the list goes on before them. Portland is supposed to be a "progressive" town. "Progressive" towns don't just sit around and hold study groups when a pattern of police brutality is right in their faces.

Comments (5)

What is the outer limit of the scope of the authority of Mr. Potter and Ms. Sizer in the context of a Recall Petition for DA Michael D. Schrunk?

ORS 249.877 Statement of justification by public officer. (1) A public officer against whom a recall petition has been filed may submit to the filing officer, in not more than 200 words, a statement of justification of the public officer’s course in office. The statement must be filed not later than the fifth day after the recall petition is filed.

(2) The county clerk shall have the statement printed on the official and sample ballots for the recall election.

"Lack of sufficient vigor in the public interest." And failure to:

Put Thumper(s) on Trial and Prosecute Official Corruption to the Fullest Extent of the Law.

See my Friday rant: "A case for the Recall Election for Multnomah County District Attorney Michael D. Schrunk"

If the targets of the eventual prosecution by the replacement DA have already waived their right to remain silent then that is their tough luck, and something that they need to take up with their private attorney.

The policies are now clearly on trial and the only way to test it is a full trial of someone that was acting in conformance with that policy.

And, Ms. Sizer -- discussion in the public of the full panoply of issues is all fair game. You, Ms. Sizer, unlike Mr. Potter are not in an elective office, and thus are subject to the reach of criminal prosecution for statements that you make that are intended to influence the coming petition drive and recall election of the DA.

Don't whine about the fact that this has turned into a media circus. Blame it on the current DA.

I would first like to tally up all the costs, public and private, that should be deemed campaign contributions on behalf of the current DA in his campaign to not be recalled by the voters. Efforts to squash the public discussion that this recall is the proper course of action should also be deemed campaign contributions.

As a matter of their union contract, Portland Police officers have the right not to be interviewed for a period of time, something like 48 hours related to any potential criminal wrongdoing. As a matter of practice, whenever an officer is involved in a shooting, or any situation in which someone dies, the police union's lawyer is on the scene immedidately, preparing his client to give his statement. That is, unlike most criminal suspsects, police officers get "lawyered up" immediately.

i think the person needed to be recalled is the mayor, for he needs to take the responsibility.

To name a few, when the top brass looks the other way, he creates a culture of corruption.

It is not too much to accuse the mayor of covering up and not cross the thin blue line.

And we, as residents, do feel he is being blackmailed for his past deeds.

All in all, we deserve clean government, honourable and transparent one.

A mayor, who marches gay parade and drives alternative feul car, just does not cut it!!

I'm confused. I've heard in the media that the officer, in this case, Humphries, fell DIRECTLY on Mr. Chasse when he tackled him during the initial foot persuit, which was the cause of his 16 ribs broken in 24 places. Now, after reading his statement, he claims he never fell on him, but fell just next to him.

How, then, did Mr. Chasse, end up with 16 ribs broken in 24 places? That's impossible from just CPR.

Once again, another cop murders a citizen of the City of Portland and gets away with it. Gee. I wonder how far I would get if I killed someone and then said, I was in fear of my life and the lives of citizens?

I'm so glad I don't live in that city any longer. The cops go around killing people and claim they were in fear of themselves or others and they get off scot free.

Or, they shoot multiple times in the back a kid with a two inch knife and, wait, claim fear of the lives of his FAMILY and get off once again, scot free.

Be afraid, Portland. You might be the next one these killers take out.

It's becoming clear that these officers' history of brutality was relevant and apparent. It also appears highly unlikely that the D.A. presented this information to the grand jury, but that Chasse's history was played to the hilt.

If anyone else were charged with assault, the D.A. would focus on the suspect's history, not the victim's. To me, this seems like a case of at least some sort of very serious legal malpractice or something more intentional, depending on what you could find out.

It seems to me there is a reason to ask for Schrunk's recall and the termination of anyone at the office (Frink?) who was actually doing the work. They are there for the public, not to defend the police so they can continue killing citizens without fear of punishment. They have seriously let us down.

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