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What Happened to James Chasse: 2007-06-17

Saturday, June 23, 2007

City’s Police Review Refers Poster Intimidation Complaint to Internal Affairs

from the Portland Mercury

The city’s Independent Police Review has referred a complaint by Richard Prentice, the man who alleges he was arrested and intimidated in a holding cell for displaying anti-cop posters downtown, to internal affairs investigators for review.

Prentice was arrested, cited with “advertising on the street,” and thrown in a cell on June 14 for putting up an anti-cop poster on the federal courthouse—the posters, he says, were motivated by the in-custody death of James Chasse last fall, as well as his own alleged beating at the hands of North Portland officers last March.

Unusually, the Mercury was contacted by email following publication of its initial story on Prentice, by Sergeant Kyle Nice—one of the cops implicated in Prentice’s allegations, and pictured in his poster (above, top right).

In a letter to Prentice’s attorney, Benjamin Haile, dated August 1st, IPR director Leslie Stevens lists six conduct complaints against Prentice’s arresting officer, Matt Wells—intimidation, false or inappropriate arrest, threatening to use force, arrest in retaliation for the flier he was posting, and violation of Prentice’s right to free speech, as well as improperly handcuffing Prentice.

There are also three complaints each against Officer Christopher Humphries and Sergeant Kyle Nice—of intimidating Prentice with threats and insults, of violating his civil right to free speech, and illegally searching Prentice’s backpack.

Haile says he is pleased the IPR is taking his client’s complaint seriously. Download a copy of the IPR’s letter HERE.

Read This Story Please—Man Alleges Arrest, Intimidation over Anti-Cop Poster

from the Portland Mercury

Blogtown readers, I’d like you to meet Richard Prentice:

I know it’s so “last year” to read our paper version these days, but Prentice’s story forms the basis for this week’s news lede—which is likely to be ignored by every other media outlet in town, unless his lawsuit against the Portland Police Bureau succeeds.

Prentice, a 200lb former linebacker, complained to the Independent Police Review (IPR) last September—alleging he had been badly beaten by cops in North Portland in March. Part of the complaint was an on-street beating, then he alleged he was taken to a holding cell, held against a wall while his kidneys were systematically punched, one at a time, so badly that he couldn’t tie his shoe laces for weeks afterwards. Prentice’s attorney at the time described the alleged incident as “torture.” The IPR rejected his complaint, and the city denied his tort claim, saying he was “intoxicated” on the night in question, and had a bad memory of what happened.

Ever been drunk? I know I have. Scary, though, isn’t it, to imagine that Prentice might have been telling the truth…

Anyway, that incident, coupled with the controversial death in custody of James Chasse, last September, is what led Prentice, he says, to create anti-cop posters, and try to post one on the wall of the Federal Courthouse on June 14th.

This is a city where plenty of people have a problem with the Police Bureau. “The cops are THUGS, maaaaan.” Yeah, whatever. But do Prentice’s allegations about what happened to him as he was putting up his poster make a difference to your rational, balanced perception of the Bureau? I’m assuming, since you’re reading Blogtown, that you don’t give too much credence to Indymedia’s rantings. But what about this story? Does it bother you? Do you care?

Read it, please. And make up your mind.