The documentary film Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse has been picked up for March 2014 cable distribution by Time Warner Cable’s online streaming mechanism Warner On Demand. The arrangement was negotiated by Breaking Glass Pictures on behalf of the Mental Health Association of Portland. Time Warner is the nation’s second largest cable company.
Alien Boy explores what happened to James “Jim Jim” Chasse September 2006 when Portland police officers Kyle Nice, Brett Burton and Christopher Humphreys beat Chasse in front of a dozen witnesses on a busy street in an affluent commercial district of Portland, Oregon. The officers waved off emergency medical treatment and instead hogtied Chasse, who had suffered multiple broken bones, and took him to jail. He died in police custody less than an hour later.
Chasse had no criminal history and had lived quietly in the neighborhood for several years. He had schizophrenia.
Harm to Chasse was justified by police because he was observed urinating on a tree (which was not true). County and City attorneys defended officers and delayed investigation for years, eventually settling a Federal civil rights lawsuit from his family for a total of $925,000 from Multnomah County and $1,600,000 from the City of Portland. In September 2012 the Federal Department of Justice, investigating other deaths of persons with mental illness at the hands of the Portland Police Bureau, found officers “engaged in an unconstitutional pattern or practice of excessive force against people with mental illness”. The City quickly settled with the DOJ on behalf of the police bureau and agreed to a number of reforms, some of which have been implemented.
No reforms by the Portland police would have stopped Chasse’ brutal beating. Officers Nice, Humphreys and Burton were not disciplined for punching, kicking and Tasering James Chasse. All maintain police certification and are still employed as police officers.
READ – Justice Department and the City of Portland, Ore., Reach Preliminary Agreement on Reforms Regarding Portland Police Bureau’s Use of Force Against Persons with Mental Illness
READ – all online articles about what happened to James Chasse
SEE – the trailer for Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse
The critically acclaimed film sold out at the Portland International Film Festival in Spring and was screened at festivals in the US and Canada in 2013 by director Brian Lindstrom.
No schedule has been set for Alien Boy on Warner On Demand. Those screenings and other media releases, including DVD and other online services will be announced as arrangements are finalized.
Under a separate contract, Alien Boy will also be represented by Breaking Glass Pictures for international distribution.