Police Face Inquiry Following Suspect’s Death

from KOIN.com, about September 20, 2006

Three witnesses have filed complaints in the death of a man under Portland Police custody.

Officers say they spotted James Chasse Sunday, near Northwest 18th and Everett, while they were talking to another suspect. They say he was acting like someone who was intoxicated or was mentally ill.

The officers say he ran, and they ran after him. They caught up to Chasse five blocks away, where they say he appeared to be urinating in the street.

He spotted them and ran again, catching him and tackling Chasse to the ground. They say he fought back violently, biting and struggling. But witnesses say the police used far more force than was necessary, including kicking, hitting and repeatedly shocking him with a Taser stun-gun.

Chasse ended up unconscious. He died later in police custody. Toxicology tests are being performed. Now, because of those formal witness complaints, there will be an inquiry by the Independent Police Review Board.