Report: Chasse Should Have Been Flagged As Patient Before Fatal
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 10, 2006
PORTLAND, OREGON--On September 15, Portland Police Officer Jason Worthington and mental health worker Ela Howard visited the apartment of James P. Chasse Jr.
They were responding to reports that the 42-year-old Chasse, who had schizophrenia, had stopped taking his medication, was not eating, and was urinating and defecating on his floor.
According to an account in Friday's Oregonian, when Chasse saw Officer Worthington's uniform, he ran away saying, "Don't hurt me."
Howard told the officer not to follow Chasse, but asked him to log the man in the department's computer database as a mental health patient, and to call her agency if he was found.
Two days later, other officers in an upscale neighborhood spotted Chasse apparently urinating in public. When Chasse saw the officers, he ran away.
The officers ran after him and tackled him, with at least one officer falling on top of him.
An autopsy later found 16 of Chasse's ribs had been broken, presumably during the fall. Some had punctured his lung, causing major internal bleeding. He died within a couple of hours of his arrest.
On month later, a Multnomah County grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing on the part of Portland Police.
Even so, Portland Mayor Tom Potter publicly apologized for Chasse's death, and called for a review of arrest data to look for ways to improve how officers interact with suspects that have mental illness.
"I know the community wants answers about what happened, and I want answers," Potter said at an October 17 press conference.
Chasse's family called his treatment "brutalization and torture" and accused the department of distorting facts and withholding evidence in the case.
"Grand jury finds no criminal wrongdoing in Oregon man's death" (KGW)
"Family accuses police of 'brutalization and torture' in Chasse case" (KGW)
"Report: Last days of Oregon man who died in struggle with police" (Associated Press via Oregonian)
"Report criticizes how James Chasse was treated at the jail" (Oregonian)