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What Happened to James Chasse: Nobody told Potter

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Nobody told Potter

from Jack Bogadanski's Blog

KGW's got a story up about how no one informed Portland Mayor Tom Potter of the police killing of unarmed civilian Jim Chasse on Sep. 17 until after the medical examiner's report on Chasse's death was released last Friday, Sep. 22. The mayor was on vacation in Germany that whole week. (As mayor, Potter runs the Police Bureau.)

Potter's says he's unhappy with the decision by his staff, and I can see why. Charges of police brutality had been filed and reported in The Oregonian on the night of Wednesday the 20th. What was his staff thinking at that point? This isn't important? "On Friday when the medical examiner's report came back and the cause of death was not what we anticipated, we made the decision to call the mayor at that time." Had they thought that the medical examiner was going to find drugs in Chasse's system, and that this could be used to downplay the entire incident? If so, they thought wrong.

I'm curious, however, as to why Potter, whose every word on this incident will be carefully crafted, is now talking about the staff notification issue to the media. It's a somewhat interesting sideshow, but a sideshow nonetheless.

It remains to be seen what, if anything, the mayor is going to be able to do to wipe out the mean streak that runs through the Police Bureau. Word on the street is that he's afraid to take on the police officers' union. I hope that isn't true.

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