Chasse case update

From the Portland Mercury, July 2008

Lawyers for the family of James Chasse, the 42-year-old man with schizophrenia who died in police custody in September 2006, argued in federal court last week to amend their suit to include Mayor Tom Potter, Police Chief Rosie Sizer, and jail nurse Patricia Gayman as defendants.

Attorney Tom Steenson wants to name Sizer, Potter, and Gayman in the part of the suit alleging denial of medical care and treatment for Chasse, because the mayor and police chief adopted new policies on hospital transport for arrestees following Chasse’s death—something they should have known to do before, Steenson alleged in court on Wednesday, July 23. Judge Denis J. Hubel cleared the courtroom so that Steenson could make his case for Gayman’s inclusion, because much of the case is subject to a media gag order preventing its public discussion—prompting new speculation about Gayman’s role in Chasse’s death.