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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Chasse was kicked or stomped in the back

And that broke his ribs on the night the Portland cops let him die. Even the medical examiner who helped whitewash the murder now admits it under oath.

There's a special place in hell for news editors who deliberately bury important stories on the eve of a holiday weekend. This is an example of why Sandy Rowe and Peter Bhatia of the O should be worried about that.

UPDATE, 7/3, 3:10 p.m.: The story was not, in fact, buried in the Friday morning print edition of the paper. See followup here.

Comments (28)

The knee-drop is a PPD standard, and it falls on the wicked and the good alike. It's policy.

Glad to see more of the truth coming to light, but DISGUSTED at the way it was put out and in everyone involved with this case.

Here's an effort to support in the wake of this injustice and inhumanity:

Bog, you're my hero for calling out the editors!

Surprising that a good reporter like Bernstein will put up with them.

I will say this again... if you want to get away with murder and mayhem in Portland, wear a badge. The Multnomah County DA's office gives cops a free pass while they are on duty. Now where the hell are those possums? And when is Stan Peters coming back?

As for the O, as least they let this story run somewhere... unlike some of the stuff they would not allow in print in the 80s. Catholic priests anyone?

In the mean time District Attorney Terry Schunk shrinks from duty as an administrator of justice. Another example of Portland's unholy trinity...Police, District Attorney, and corrupt local judges.

If the Big 0 sat on the story, which was openly available "among dozens of pages of depositions filed this week in U.S. District Court in Portland", waiting until 10:04pm the eve before a holiday weekend, why weren't they flat-out scooped on the story? By the Trib or by WWeek or by channel 2, or 6, or 8, or 12, or even by an intrepid blogger? What The Big 0 does or doesn't do is one thing, but what their competition cedes to them is another something

Since when does running a piece across five columns on the top of Page 1 of the Friday morning newspaper qualify as "burying" a news story?

God forbid we dedicate funding a civil rights attorney and investigator for the AG's office to conduct a review independent of county DA's in police misconduct claims. No need, BOLI does the job - not. They're limited to employment discrimination and not 4th amendment unreasonable seizure claims. Oh well. Nothing will change.

It's not just Portland. In related news, the city of Sandy and one of it's former cops just settled with the Kaady family for one million dollars in their wrongful death suit. That beats the Chasse suit by $15 grand. What a great "first" for the city of Sandy.

I have little doubt that Portland police officers would fire live ammunition into protesting crowds if ordered to do so. But then again, I lived through the WTO protests in Seattle and personally witnessed police gassing and beating innocent bystanders on lower capitol hill.

Its time citizens realize that the purpose of the police is to protect the wealth and property of corporations and the rich. Their job is to protect "them" from "us".

Read "Portland Confidential" about the bad old days. The behavior of our police department have evolved directly out of the days of blatant graft and repression. That's the legacy in Portland that you can still see at work today.

Honestly, if any of you haven't read "Portland Confidential" it's quite short, informative and highly entertaining.

Yesterday, during rush hour, Mrs. Tee got stopped for making an illegal turn on the bus mall in her SUV and the PPB officer towed her car for lack of a current insurance card. When she stepped off the curb to ask the tow truck operator which lot he would take it to, the officer threw her up against his squad car (bruising both her arms), cuffed her and placed her under arrest for interfering with a police officer. Then he yelled at her at the top of his lungs while he was in the front seat (door closed) and she was cuffed in back.

So I guess the depolicing argument isn't quite yet valid, based on purely anecdotal evidence. Anybody know a good attorney for an excessive force lawsuit?

I'm guessing the arresting officer has done this kind of thing before, if my wife's version of the story is remotely true.

Mister Tee- suggest you start with "Chasse's family attorney Tom Steenson" Good luck.

You can watch cops knee-drop perps every Saturday night on COPS. Seems to be a fairly common tactic.

The fact remains, that unless there are cameras present at every police stop, covering every angle, the public will never know what 'really happened'

The "cops are only here to protect the big corporations from the will of the masses" argument just doesn't hold water well. 90% of an officers shift is spent responding to domestic and other disturbances involving almost exclusively, poor people. The big corporation argument often is from someone whose only experience with the cops was at a demonstration ten years ago. They have never sat bleeding in a corner of the house after their drunk, enraged significant other beat them while their neighbors pretended not to hear.

Chasse is a horrible tragedy. But its not representative.

"Its time citizens realize that the purpose of the police is to protect the wealth and property of corporations and the rich. Their job is to protect "them" from "us"."

Over 1000 years ago the medieval Sheriff ("Shire Rieve in Old English)was an integral part of the feudal hierarchy, and the purpose of the office was to maintain law and order at the local level. The feudal hierarchy was essentially a system that perpetuated oligarchical control over land to ensure that the nobility would hold power over the country by exploiting the peasant class in the various fiefs throughout the realm. The wealthy nobles essentially sat around in their castles, hunted, fought wars as needed, and collected taxes from the peasants. It was like one big gang with the King as the supreme leader. The peasants, more or less slaves, worked in the fields from sun up to sun down every day in service of their master, and were subject to arrest and return to the land where they were born if they tried to move away from it. Sometimes it feels like things haven't changed very much over the years.

Mr Tee,

Make sure you file a complaint with PPB. It may sound like it will do no good, but it will show you tried the provided remedy, and you can still hire the attorney anyway.

I still believe many more cops are good than bad, but it only takes the actions of a few bad ones to taint all the others. I too know of incidents like you have described.

It might to be interesting to ask PPB for any other complaints against this guy, even the ones that are "not sustained" due to lack of witnesses. Sorry she had to go through that.

across five columns on the top of Page 1

Sorry, I don't buy the hard copy any more. But if that's where it is, then you're right -- it isn't buried.

the Friday morning newspaper

Friday, the national holiday at the start of the three-day weekend. That's worse than Saturday. It should have run on Monday.

As someone who worked at The Oregonian for 16 years ending in November, Jack, I find your assertion that the paper tried to bury this story absurd. In a competitive news cycle, the paper runs stories when it has them and has them nailed down.

When a story is ready at the end of the day Thursday before a three-day weekend that starts on Friday, the editors have four choices: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. Saturday is always a graveyard -- lowest circulation of any week -- and on a holiday weekend, the other non-Sunday is also bad. In this case, the strongest play would probably have been Sunday, but for a Portland-centric story such as this, Monday would have been most appropriate.

We'll see what pressing news the O will lead with on Monday. "Michael Jackson funeral draws thousands" is my guess.

In the case of timely news, the editors have only one real choice - that is to run with it. If the paper holds this, it's just asking to get beaten by WW, a TV station or other competition.

Nobody else had this but Maxine, and everybody over there knew that. These are depositions that are old and cold -- "filed this week" meaning what? Monday the 29th? It could have waited.

That said, the front page screaming headline was strong, and my characterization of this as "buried" was inaccurate.

But it still could have held to Monday, and should have.

I'll go with Dave A on this one, Jack.
After Packwood and Goldschmidt I am sure the idea of holding a story for a couple of days is unappealing to eds of the O.
A possible explanation for the delay in getting to ink is the fading tradition of double-checking facts.

Matt Davis had the story of the new evidence up first, Anna Song of KATU second, Max had it up third. All three stories were good. There are so few reporters left in town that sniping is reducto ad absurdum.

What's newly learned is how badly American Medical Response screwed this process up. They could have saved Chasse.

But the new evidence is HIGHLY redacted by the family attorney. What's not there is perhaps the rest of the story.

For an annotated listing of the new evidence, see http://www.mentalhealthportland.org/?tag=chasse-files

"90% of an officers shift is spent responding to...disturbances involving almost exclusively, poor people."

JP, Thanks for making my point.



Thanks for the advice. I agree that most police officers (something more than 90%) are good cops who maintain their composure and professionalism even when confronted with the worst our society has to offer. That said, it is a tough job, and it would tend to wear down even the most amiable personalities.

Eventually, I'm not sure a fatigued/angry or frightened cop can check their emotions: maybe Officer Manhandle is getting divorced and my wife reminded him of his? I can tell you the city and PPB are going to lose hundreds of hours over this claim, if not tens of thousands of dollars.

Chasse is a horrible tragedy. But its not representative.

The horrible tragedy part is that Chasse's body couldn't take it, but the way he was handled is indeed representative of how the police handle uncooperative people.

Just so I know, when talking fails, and someone must be taken into custody, what is the right way to handle uncooperative people? I mean, seeing how multi-thousands of people are arrested every year in Portland with few injuries to officers or suspects.

I mean, I'm sure you've wrestled with hundreds of violent, screaming, spitting, drug-addled, drunk, bloody, vomit-covered, staph-riddled suspects with uncapped needles in their pockets and feces in their pants, right? In an uncontrolled, sharp, dirty environment full of unknown weapons, right? Its not always this way, but sometimes it is.

No? Well, I have. And I do my very best to treat each of them with as much compassion and respect as I can, especially when it is clear that they are not in their right minds. And sometimes we struggle,in an ugly, scary way, and while we do, I tell them quietly and calmly, like a mantra, to try and relax, but sometimes they don't. And sometimes I get urine on my uniform, scrapes on my knees, or a busted finger. And sometimes they do.

What happened to Chasse was a tragedy, but its not representative.

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