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What Happened to James Chasse: Witness in Chasse case will testify to grand jury

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Witness in Chasse case will testify to grand jury


The grand jury investigating the death of a Portland man who died while in police custody is not expected to finish until next week.

Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying the Multnomah County district attorney's office informed her about the delay because a witness was unavailable.

Sizer said the Portland Police Bureau will provide an extremely detailed account of the entire incident and she asked the public to be patient.

Meanwhile, a man who says he saw police try to revive Chasse says he feels police acted appropriately.

James Chasse, 42, died last month after he suffered 16 broken ribs, including some that punctured a lung and caused internal bleeding. Details about the injuries were included in a state medical examiner's autopsy report released by his family.

Despite the extent of his injuries, his death has been ruled accidental.

A witness who saw police trying to revive Chasse says officers pulled him from the patrol car and performed vigorous CPR, which he says may account for some of Chasse's chest injuries.

Jon Olson says he was jogging in the area when police pulled over after reportedly discovering Chasse had stopped breathing while en route to a hospital in a patrol car.

Olson says he thought the officer's actions were "above board."

Dan Handelman, a spokesman for a group called CopWatch, called the extent of Chasse's internal injuries "incredibly frightening" and says an incredible amount of force was used.

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