Forum to be held discussing Chasse death

From, January 17, 2010

It has been more than three years since James Chasse, a schizophrenic, died after being tackled and taken into custody by Portland police on a Northwest Portland street.

And now, a community forum is in the works – to be held in March at Portland State University.

For some like Jason Renaud, a mental health advocate, the forum will be held three years too late.

“The community is pretty disappointed and disgusted with the city at this point,” Renaud said. “At this point, so many months have gone by without any accountability that the process of the internal police review and the process of the police commissioner lacks credibility.”

In Renaud’s view, the only way for the city to regain its credibility is by taking “extra efforts” to listen – and respond – to citizen comments.

Others, such as vice-chair of a Portland-based Citizens Review Committee Hank Miggins, expect the scope of the forum will be wider than just Chasse’s death.

Miggins said recent use-of-force issues, such as the same officer involved in the Chasse shooting also tagging a combative teenager with a bean-bag gun, should be part of the March meeting. He hopes the forum will shed light on the larger, more general issues of police brutality.

The forum could include a presentation from former Hillsboro Police Chief, Ron Louie, who has written a manual on use-of-force and who has also been critical of police decisions that led up to the bean-bag-shooting of that Portland teenager.

Police use-of-force has been such a hot issue, some on the citizens review committee are concerned about having enough security at the forum. However, they will settle on just how much is needed, between now and March.