On September 17, 2006 Portland Police Bureau’s Sergeant Kyle Nice, Officer Christopher Humphreys and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy Bret Burton tackled, Tased and beat James Chasse. He died in their custody 100 minutes later.
For more than three years, our City has dissected, debated, and bemoaned what happened to James Chasse, but this discussion remains inconclusive and inadequate when no one has been held responsible for his death.
On September 17, 2009, the Mental Health Association of Portland said that three years was long enough to wait for the Portland Police Bureau’s decision whether the two officers, Nice and Humphreys, followed Bureau policy, and long enough to wait for appropriate discipline.
Six days later, after a series of hurried meetings, Chief Rosie Sizer announced that the officers had complied with Bureau policy in the vast majority of their actions: The tackling, the knee drops to the back, the kicks to the head, the punches to his face, the repeated Tasering. Sizer found all acceptable within Bureau policy.
For the vast majority of our community, these actions and the Bureau’s findings are completely unacceptable.
On September 23, the Mental Health Association of Portland gave the Portland City Council a list of seven actions they could take to begin to repair the trust and respect dissolved by the actions of the officers, and the relative inaction by those who guard our guardians. These suggestions were quick and free to implement. City Council ignored these suggestions.
Our City administrators and leaders have have demonstrated they lack the political will to enforce accountability on this issue. We have more confidence that the officers will voluntarily resign than that the City will terminate their employment. And we hope they do.
We ask that these three men, who have probably contemplated their actions more than anyone, take on a new, positive, restorative role, and begin to repair the damage they did on September 17, 2006 by resigning from the Portland Police Bureau immediately.
Reverend Doctor LeRoy Haynes, Pastor of the Allen Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, speaking on behalf of the Albina Ministerial Alliance.
Beckie Child, MSW, Board President of Mental Health America of Oregon
Jason Renaud, Board Secretary of the Mental Heath Association of Portland
Bob Joondeph, Executive Director of Disability Rights of Oregon
OTHER SPEAKERS TBA