Matt Klug v. City of Portland, continued…

After a year of investigation and delay the Portland City Council-appointed Citizen Review Commission met last night to review the case of Matthew Klug.

After 45 minutes of self-indulgent delay, the CRC bumbled through its agenda before conceding they had little to add to the Portland Police Bureau’s exoneration of two Portland police officers’ rough take down and multiple Tasering of Klug. It’s likely CRC members used the wrong Taser policy to judge Klug’s case, and city attorneys sitting in the room failed to advise them otherwise.

What happened to Matt Klug is of interest to people with mental illness, and perhaps of interest to people interested in justice, because the scenario approximates what happened to James Chasse. We addressed Chasse in the documentary film, Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse. His brutal death propelled a national conversation about police harm to people with mental illness.

Fortunately Klug wasn’t killed by cops. But in ten years of advocacy and introspection it’s hard to discern any reform by Portland’s police in their routine harm to people with mental illness. The Federal suit, US DOJ v. City of Portland has had no measurable effect (it may, but the PPB and DOJ shifted metrics, or failed to collect them, so it will be years to see benefit). Independent efforts to reform police or provide additional services to people with mental illness to reduce acuity have been marginal and misguided.

Here’s a blow-by-blow of the May 4, 2016 hearing. Klug lost.