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What Happened to James Chasse: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - 10/8/06

Sunday, October 8, 2006


from The Oregonian

Chasse was no criminal

A man has died in Portland at the hands of those who are sworn to protect and serve him. A man with a chronic illness that, at times, may have compelled him to behave in a way that created suspicion with the police, has died because of blunt-force trauma to his chest.

How easily we forget that having a chronic mental illness is not against the law. It is not illegal to act in a bizarre manner. It is not mandated for individuals with mental illnesses to take medications.

The police chief and law enforcement officials are blaming the mental health system. James P. Chasse Jr. died needlessly Sept. 17. He was no criminal. He was no drug abuser. He was a man with a chronic, debilitating illness.

Shame on Portland police for not realizing the difference between a criminal and a man with a disability. Thank goodness that Chasse has involved family members who are willing to demand answers from police. Thank goodness they've retained an attorney.

Peace to his family, who must grieve the loss of a son and a brother.

Southeast Portland

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