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Friday, January 22, 2010

Ambulance settles for $600K in Chasse case

Some pretty interesting details in this story about the latest developments in the pending civil case surrounding the 2006 homicide of Jim-Jim Chasse at the hands of the Portland police:

Paramedics found Chasse at Northwest 13th Avenue and Everett Street, lying on his right side, handcuffed, with his feet tied to his wrists. Paramedic Tamara Hergert said she asked an officer what had happened, and was told the man had run from police and when they caught him, he continued to struggle until he suddenly stopped fighting, according to an AMR court filing.

Hergert said she had difficulty getting a blood pressure cuff on Chasse's arm, and looked at one of the officers to "communicate that I wanted the hobble removed. The officer said 'Not a chance' " and moved the patient's feet toward his arms to create more slack. She said she then was able to take Chasse's blood pressure. She said it was 119/73, calling that well within the normal range, and his pulse was 100, at the high end of normal, she testified in court documents.

She said she manually counted Chasse's respirations, and found his rate between 18 to 20 breaths per minute. She said she wanted to check his oxygen saturation rate, but found it would have been impossible because of a decreased blood flow to his hands from pulling against handcuffs. Instead, she considered his skin color. She found his face a little pale, but the rest of his skin color good.

Hergert said she had no idea Chasse suffered from a mental illness, and had overhead officers say they thought Chasse had drugs.

"Although in my opinion emergency transport to a hospital was not medically indicated, I offered to transport the patient. The officer declined and said the patient would be going to jail," she said, in a court filing.

How much do you think the city's going to have to pay on this one? $5 million? $10 million? Maybe a mentally ill guy's life is not worth that much money.

Of course, the shame of living in a supposedly "progressive" community where this sort of thing goes on unpunished, out of the politicians' subservience to the police union, is priceless.

Comments (10)

Whatever the judgment or settlement is, it's bound to be a significant amount. Maybe the Paulson family can assist us by offering zero-coupon bonds to pay the Chasse family.

Wow. "Not a chance", huh.

"Not a chance" that we the police, will actually do what's necessary for you, the health care provider, to properly examine our hog-tied victim, because we're in control here, lady..

What century do these guys live in? What is with tying ankles to wrists, anyway? I thought that was a Sopranos move, in anticipation of loading someone in the trunk for disposal...

The most important thing here is that the Portland Police get away with murder.

All other City pay-outs, bad P.R., erosion of trust, are distant secondary concerns for them. First and foremost, they have to be able to murder people and not face any repercussions.

For as long as I can remember, I have heard police talk about how every routine traffic stop could erupt into a life-threatening situation. So they say they are only being responsible when they assume that every motorist they stop might have a gun, might be a felon, etc., until the officer confirms otherwise. I understand that doing police work is difficult and stressful and can be dangerous. Most officers would agree (I hope) that the vast majority of citizens are peaceful and law-abiding, and that the vast majority of traffic stops are, well, routine traffic stops. Nevertheless, they tell us, it is only responsible for the officer who pulls over a motorist to exercise great caution, assume that the motorist could have a gun, etc.

Private citizens should use the same caution when encountering a police officer. If I don't know the officer personally (and I know a few), how do I know that he or she is not a dangerous, sadistic psychopath looking for an excuse to use deadly force? I must assume that the officer is one of the bad ones until I have reason to believe otherwise. It would be unsafe and irresonsible to approach dealings with police officers any differently.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not an apologist for the police. I'm just pointing out that the fear/mistrust/suspicion they regard us with also goes the other direction. Not surprising when the idea of "community policing" is dead and buried, replaced with military-style uniforms and tactics.

I hope it costs the city so damned much $
that the "powers behind the throne" in
this city wake-up and force Sizer to get
her butt on into retirement and then a
real capable "manager" comes in to take
her place and one that has gonads enough
to take on PPA and then start wholesale
FIRING of all PoPo that even says they're
a member of PPA. This is the only way to
rid ourselves of this flith we call PPB!

Bud Clark was the only one with stones enough to face them down.

Again, our heroic police have forgotten their basic rule: Use the minimum amount of force necessary to control the situation or effect the arrest. When the judgement is awarded it will be time to clean house starting with chief thug Scott Westerman along with Saltzman and Sizer.

Am I missing something here? Who is this guy Werfel from Stonybrook? Is his expertise AND integrity well established? Some of these experts are known "ambulance chasers."

And as a former EMT on an ambulance I would have backed off given that the officer(s) were intimidating. The Federal judge erred in allowing this large settlement, an excellent example of why medical care and transportation costs too much.

An EMT can't simply "back off" because someone is being a jerk. If someone's life is in jeopardy, he or she has a duty to see that adequate care is given. If an officer is standing in the way of discharging that duty, the EMT needs to take it to the next level, calling in whatever level of supervisors it takes to keep the dying man from dying.

The fact that AMR's insurance company settled for this amount is a clear admission that AMR miserably failed in this case. If the judge had interfered with the settlement and this case went to trial, surely a jury would have cleaned AMR's clock. That's why they settled.

If you don't like juries, you might want to look into moving to a different country.

AMR should sue the city of Portland to recover its payout, on the basis that oversight of Portland police is simply totally ineffective.

I wonder if PPB leadership has ever considered administering personality tests to these guys before hiring them. It would save so much grief.

In Seattle recently, walking early one morning, unaccompanied, in a deserted spot under an overpass by the waterfront, along came a Seattle "safety ambassador". Cute, affable, engaging bicyclist with a radio and bright yellow gear and flashing bike adornments. Biked up to me, "how ya doin', can I help you find anything?" Needless to say, my "this-is-cool-and-something-Portland-needs" radar was up...a pleasant chat later, I had learned that Seattle hires a whole crew of these charmers to look after the streets in Seattle and radio cops when needed.

Of course, we'de rather spend our money on nonsense like aerial trams than make Portland a safe and feel-good place.

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