Mental Health Advocates Demand Release of Chasse Records

From Willamette Week, August 20 2009

Approaching the three-year mark since the death of James Chasse Jr. in police custody, the Mental Health Association of Portland has launched an online petition demanding the city release records and a finding of facts in the case.

The petition is addressed to Mayor Sam Adams, Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Police Chief Rosie Sizer. It begins:

We, the signers of this petition, are persons in recovery from mental illness and addiction, their friends and family members, their neighbors, co-workers and colleagues, and members of the public.

Together we are alarmed by the lengthy and unwarranted delay in creating and distributing the internal police investigation, a public finding of facts, from a police action over three years ago which resulted in the death of an innocent man at the hands of city employees.

We believe delaying the release of this investigation jeopardizes public safety.

The city is currently being sued by the Chasse family in federal court.

The delay in releasing a finding on the officers’ behavior has also come in for criticism by Sgt. Scott Westerman, head of the police union.

After repeated public statements by Westerman, Sizer told WW seven months ago the case “is going through the process, and I don’t think it will take too much longer.”

Sizer and Saltzman have not yet returned calls seeking comment.

READ & SIGN – The James Chasse Petition