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What Happened to James Chasse: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - 10/5/06

Thursday, October 5, 2006


from The Oregonian

Chasse death: Rein in thuggish police
I can only visualize myself or any frail person walking down the street and being tackled by three policemen. Imagine the injuries that would create.

Then imagine fighting because you couldn't breathe (lung punctured) and imagine being shouted at to lie on your stomach but begging not to (fractured rib pain). Imagine begging the ambulance people not to leave.

James P. Chasse Jr.'s death was horrible!

I was raised in the 1950s, when my mother read me the book, "The Policeman is Your Friend." I have believed that a policeman is my friend all my life (59 years) --until now. Now I believe that police officers are thugs, legal thugs. Thugs who killed poor Mr. Chasse.

For now, let us all pray we don't stagger with a medical problem on the streets of Portland.

Police Chief Rosie Sizer: You are in charge. Do the right thing. In the memory of Chasse, protect innocent people. Protect me.

St. Helens

James P. Chasse Jr. died of massive internal bleeding caused by 16 fractured ribs with 26 individual rib bones that were "broken, splintered or crushed" by two Portland police officers and a Multnomah County sheriff's deputy ("Injury list a long one in struggle with police," Oct. 4).

A few weeks ago, it was another young man who died at the hands of overzealous police. He was shot to death.

What are we citizens supposed to do when we need help and the police respond in such a manner? Where is the training in use of appropriate force?

Both of these situations could have been resolved using rudimentary pin holds and a little martial arts training.

Are the police chief, mayor [and sheriffs] doing their jobs in making training required and available?

Southeast Portland

How many autopsy reports will it take? How many reports of 16 crushed and broken ribs, a punctured lung and severe internal bleeding will it take before the blunt-force trauma of enraged public opinion will rein in the out-of-control cowboys of the Portland Police Bureau?

James P. Chasse Jr. died alone, in a police car, on Sept. 17. May his gentle, but mentally ill, soul rest in peace.

Southwest Portland

It seems the Portland police are held to a different standard. How many times over the years have people "accidentally" died while in police custody?

Why is it always termed an accident by the authorities, when if the same circumstances were to occur in the lives of most people, there would be a major investigation and someone would be going to prison?

I guess I just feel like I believe a lot of Portlanders feel: The Portland police seem to be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want; even if it is taking someone's life; and there is never any real explanation to the public, or any type of discipline of the offending officers --unless you call "paid leave" discipline.

Isn't a police officer supposed to be someone we can all respect and look up to, someone to emulate? Not someone to be feared, like a storm trooper.

Northeast Portland

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