free website hit counter
What Happened to James Chasse: No decision this week in case of man who died in custody

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

No decision this week in case of man who died in custody

There will be no decision this week from a Multnomah County grand jury on whether officers will be charged or any laws were broken in the case of a man who died in police custody.

Forty-two-year-old James Chasse died last month in a Portland patrol car on his way to the hospital after a scuffle with officers in Northwest Portland on September 17. His family said Chasse was mentally ill.

A decision was expected on Tuesday, but officials said that attorneys for the Chasse family wanted the jury to interview another witness in the case. One member of the grand jury will also be unavailable until next week, police said.

The grand jury will reconvene next week.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Police Chief Rosie Sizer said:

"The Police Bureau is disappointed because we have been anxious to share all of the factual information regarding this investigation. However, allowing Mr. Chasse’s family to participate in the Grand Jury process is ultimately in the best interest of the entire community. The Police Bureau stands ready to openly discuss the entire investigation as soon as the Grand Jury completes its work."

Police identified the officers involved Chasse’s custody as Sgt. Kyle Nice, 39, a 14-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau, officer Christopher Humphreys, 31, a seven-year veteran of the bureau and Dep. Brett Burton, 26, a two-year veteran with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. The grand jury began interviewing witnesses last week and wrapped up hearing testimony on Monday, officials said.

The cause of death was listed as accidental, from blunt force trauma to the chest, examiners said.

Chasse had 16 broken ribs, a punctured lung and internal bleeding, according to the state medical examiner's autopsy report that was later released by his family.

Chasse’s family and some witnesses said they believed police used excessive force.

Police and Portland’s Mayor promised thorough and quick investigations into the death, and also a review of police training and procedures, police said.

No comments: