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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 9, 2010 8:45 AM. The previous post in this blog was Name the SoWhat immigration detainee tank. The next post in this blog is Laurelhurst Park duck pond is drained dry. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Anatomy of a crime

Why wasn't Portland police officer Christopher Humphreys charged with a crime in connection with the killing of James Chasse? Over the weekend, we learned from Maxine Bernstein at the O:

A Portland police training review of James P. Chasse Jr.'s 2006 death in police custody found Officer Christopher Humphreys never should have chased the 42-year-old man or knocked him to the ground because there was no evidence he committed a crime or was a danger to himself or others.
If you kill someone without justification, and in violation of the standards of care in your dangerous occupation, how can that not be a crime?

And yet Humphreys's commander headed off any finding of wrongdoing along those lines:

The documents, though, reveal the officers' supervisor dismissed much of the 22-page analysis by the Portland Police Bureau's Training Division. Then-Transit Division Cmdr. Donna Henderson [below] wrote up her own review in defense of her officers' actions. Her memo "apparently trumped" the training analysis before a Use of Force Review Board evaluating the officers' actions, city-hired consultants reported.

Although Henderson wrote that she agreed it would be "egregious" to knock someone to the ground simply because he was urinating, she said she was convinced Humphreys believed that Chasse was involved in something more. She wrote that Humphreys reasonably believed a crime was committed, citing "indecent exposure," and because of Chasse's unusual behavior, thought he was either drunk or on drugs....

Consultant Michael Gennaco also pointed out that internal affairs investigators learned of a different culture among officers in the Transit Division and concerns about lax supervision but were told by command staff "not to go there."

Few things are worse than out-of-control, brutal police officers -- but people who cover up for them surely are. And get this -- according to Bernstein, former Commander Henderson is now on the board of directors of Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare! God rest James Chasse, and God help Portland.

Comments (17)

If only Christopher Humpreys would open a lemonade stand so our area politicians would see him as a serious threat.

I heard Christopher Humprheys only requests plastic bags at Fred Meyer, and once trimmed a tree in his front yard without getting a permit.

--Henderson is now on the Board of Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare--

Irony just died of shame.

If only we had a DA with a spine and half a care about acting in the interests of justice. But that's OK, some of us will refuse to serve on criminal juries in this travesty of a justice system until the system actually gives a rip about justice. And by refuse to serve, I mean that I will use voir dire as a means to get dismissed.

"If only we had a DA with a spine..."

hey now, he just outlawed e-cigs here in oregon!

I'm jealous!

These "public servants" have a management that will do anything to protect them.

Completely opposite philosophy of some other public service agencies that I am acquainted with.

Lupin -

The Multnomah County DA had the primary responsibility to seek criminal charges against Humphries the murderer.

The state AG was dealing with the e cigs issue.

Two very distinct people and offices with very different primary responsibilities.

I know its pedantic.

But its also importamt that those of us who are so justifiably critical of the performance of PPB - and the (?) accuracy (?) of their r initial reportsabout Chassee - are at least more accurate than the PPB.

"public servant" is the newest oxymoron

Nonny - You cannot be serious. I have a personal letter signed by Mike Shrunk in which he states that he has a responsibility to prosecute cases that he knows his office can win. (This was a response sent to me long ago after I sent a letter chastising his office for refusing to bring charges against the Park Rose school board member who assaulted an African-American teenaged girl with pepper spray.) Maybe Shrunk honestly believes that his office cannot convict a cop of murder but somehow I think there is more to it than that. However, I could see him saying that kind of thing again.

Los-Angeles based consultants from the Police Assessment Resource Center also have advised the city not to allow an officer's commander to vote on a board reviewing the officer's use of force or conduct, but the City Council, led by Commissioner Randy Leonard, last month dismissed that advice and voted to ensure the immediate commander can vote, at the request of Chief Mike Reese.

Don't expect things to change too much. It is absolutely corrupt to allow a supervisor a vote. But your City Council knows all about that.

My guess is that the Shrunk is as frightened of retaliation, violent or systematic, as everybody else who has so carefully backed away from this. The only civilian we've ever had who was willing to back down the Cop Shop was Bud Clark. Shrunk is a good old boy, and will never muss his nice suit on behalf of someone like Chasse. A recall would be a great idea, but everybody has their bikes and their beer, so...no problem! Go by ambulance!

Somebody from the ACLU stable should run against him next time he's on the ballot -- somebody who knows a lynching when they see one.

LucsAdvo -

I'm very serious. Schrunk and his office deserve a lot of criticism. I said so.

The original poster, lupin, was critixcizing Kroger and the AG's office - the "folks who banned e cigarettes". The AG - wheteher Hardly Matters, who was AG when Chassee was murdered, or Kroger now, should not be saddled with failure to prosecute Humphries.

A long time ago, a very good prosecutor's office in Oregon had an informal motto to the effect that" If you're not losing half the criminal cases you prosecute, you are afraid to do your job." Sadly, Sid Lezak has been gone far too long.

The deterioration in the federa;l prosecutor's office started under Turner and has steadily worsened.

Nonny - The You cannot be Serious comment was made tongue in cheek (it was not meant to be taken literally except as a poke in the eye at Shrunk's lack of integrity).

I admit I am not an lawyer but generally murder charges are the province of the local district attorney, not state attorney generals or federal prosecutors.

The feds typically get involved in murder cases where there are civil rights implications or there is a pattern of behavior that falls within the RICO guidelines.

That said, it wouldn't be too hard to argue that given the number of PPB homocides involving African-Americans and mentally disabled people fall into the civil rights domain. And also, the behavior of the PPA in these matters has always made me think the PPA (cop union) is ripe for RICO prosecution. However, the DOJ in Oregon is as lame as Shrunk.

When did "knock down" become a euphemism for "tackle and crush" or "beat to death"
If you trip or tackle someone while in pursuit I doubt that this would normally result in a crushed chest cavity and broken ribs. If this were the case I guess we wouldn't be playing football. It seems pretty clear that in addition to being "knocked down" Mr Chasse was subjected to a knee drop or perhaps a verical cannon ball.

There should be a maximum BMI limit for cops just like there is for soldiers. If cops weren't so well-fed, maybe they'd find it harder to crush people of normal height-weight ratio, during a "knock down".

The idea that she now sits on a mental health organization board screams out corruption.

gaye - the PPA would scream bloody murder if there was a BMI limit though there are several rational justifications (like they cannot run for a pursuit, they might have a heart attack on the street, as well as the crush point) .... but it would take the coppers minds off of other things for awhile. And I could bet that it would get porky the pig, Humphreys off the street.


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