Politics sure to play big in cops’ hearing

From the Portland Tribune, September 18 2008

Starting Oct. 1 – more than two years after the death of James Chasse Jr. following a fracas with the Portland Police – the officers involved finally will get their day in court, so to speak.

Officer Christopher Humphreys and Sgt. Kyle Nice will appear before a police-bureau disciplinary review board.

And if you think that normal cop-shop politics is messy, wait until you get a load of this one.

First, you have the dollar-bill politics: If officers get disciplined for misconduct during the Chasse family’s pending lawsuit against the city, it could fuel a larger payout.

Second, and pushing in the other direction, there’s public-perception politics: namely, that this is the most controversial Portland police-involved fatality since Kendra James.

Finally, there’s City Hall politics these days. Chief Rosie Sizer and Mayor Tom Potter have been waging a subtle PR campaign to prevent Commissioner Randy Leonard from becoming the next police commissioner. And they know that whatever they do in this disciplinary case, Leonard – who has been vocal about the Chasse case – will not hesitate to find fault with it.