Saltzman Proposes 2 Weeks Off For Chasse Cops: Leonard Calls Saltzman “Parrot” For Police Chief

From the Portland Mercury, November 4, 2009

Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman has upped Chief [Rosie] Sizer’s recommended discipline in the Chasse case, proposing two weeks off for Sergeant Kyle Nice and Officer Christopher Humphreys, instead of Sizer’s recommended week off for Nice, on September 23.

The Oregonian had the story an hour ago, with Portland Police Association boss Scott Westerman seeming to be the source. Westerman is yet to return a call for comment, but told O reporter Maxine Bernstein he was “absolutely disgusted” with the recommendation.

Nice and Humphreys have the opportunity to appeal the discipline.

“I’m disgusted as well,” says Jason Renaud, with the Mental Health Association of Portland — a friend of Chasse’s and advocate for people in similar situations, who has called on Saltzman and the city council to do seven actions to repair damage associated with the death.

“This shows a basic lack of courage,” says Renaud. “And maybe a lack of the tools needed to discipline officers. This is the lightest possible discipline imaginable. This doesn’t make us safer, this doesn’t protect us better. James Chasse is still dead.”

“We need the tools to discipline officers more readily, instead of waiting three years,” Renaud continues. “The commissioner seems to be rather powerless at this point.”

Renaud says he has offered Saltzman and Sizer the opportunity to speak publicly to the community about the incident, and they have refused. “Their actions and decisions need explaining,” he says.

Saltzman is yet to return a call for comment on the news.

Speaking earlier, before the discipline was recommended, city commissioner Randy Leonard spoke out about Saltzman’s relationship with Police Chief Rosie Sizer, describing him as “a parrot” for the chief.

“He is a captive of the culture as much as anybody else is, on the 15th floor of the police bureau,” Leonard said, referring to the chief’s office. “The place needs a house cleaning.”

Leonard spoke out two weeks ago on the Chasse incident, describing it as “unjustifiable and inexcusable,” and said the city should move quickly to settle its lawsuit with Chasse’s family.

“This isn’t just about Chief Sizer,” Leonard continued. “I had the same issues with Chief [Mark] Kroeker and Chief [Derrick] Foxworth, when it came to defensive hostility.”

Leonard would not specify a preference for an alternative chief, but did say Central Commander Mike Reese is “one of the most thoughtful human beings I’ve ever known in my life and an outstanding public servant.”