Police officer suspended after girl shot with beanbag

From the Portland Tribune, November 19, 2009

Christopher Humphreys was involved in 2006 arrest of James Chasse Jr.

Portland police officer Christopher Humphreys, who already faces discipline for his role in the September 2006 death of James Chasse Jr., has been suspended pending an investigation into the close-range beanbag shooting of a 12-year-old girl Saturday night near a Gresham TriMet MAX station.

Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Police Chief Rosie Sizer both said they were “troubled” by what they saw in a TriMet security video of the incident.

“Officer Humphreys has been placed on administrative leave and I have directed the Internal Affairs Division to conduct an immediate and full investigation into whether the use of force was justified under the totality of circumstances and whether the application of the beanbag at close range was consistent with the Bureau’s training,” Sizer said Thursday afternoon.

“The actions I witnessed on the video are not consistent with my expectations and what I believe are the community’s expectations for a Portland Police Officer,” Saltzman said.

A union representing Portland police officers blasted the suspension, calling it part of a pattern of bias against Humphreys and said it was spurred by “office politics.”

On Nov. 4, Saltzman recommended that Humphreys and Sgt. Kyle Nice be suspended without pay for about two weeks for their actions during the arrest of Chasse in the Pearl District.

The 42-year-old Chasse died Sept. 17, 2006, two hours after being arrested outside a Pearl District restaurant. He ran from police, who tackled him and used a Tazer to subdue him.

He died after being handcuffed and driven to the Multnomah County Detention Center in a police car, where jailers refused to accept him because he was injured.

Chasse’s confrontation with police left him with several internal injuries, including 26 broken bones, broken ribs and a punctured left lung.

Chasse’s family is suing the city and the police officers in U.S. District Court.

Humphreys was with several other police officers who responded at about 10:47 p.m. Nov. 14 to a disturbance by several young people near Northeast 162nd Avenue and Halsey Street. More than two dozen young men and woman – some of them suspected gang members – were leaving a party in the area and got into a tussle with others in the area.

Many of the young people boarded a westbound MAX train. Humphreys and Officer Aaron Dauchy, both 10-year veterans assigned to the TriMet Transit Police, responded to the disturbance and discovered that one of the young men on the train had been excluded from public transit.

When Dauchy and Humphreys handcuffed the young man, Dauchy called to a young woman who also had been excluded and told her to leave the train. As he took her into custody, police said she allegedly hit him in the face.

As the two struggled, Humphreys turned a beanbag gun on the young woman and ordered her to stop resisting. When she didn’t stop struggling, he allegedly shot her at close range in the thigh.

Paramedics said the girl’s leg was bruised but not seriously injured.

She has been charged with assaulting a public safety officer, resisting arrest and interfering with public transportation. She is not in custody.

A TriMet security camera caught the incident on tape. When Sizer and Saltzman reviewed the video, they decided to suspend Humphreys pending an investigation into the use of force.

“I believe it is the best interest of the community and the members of the Portland Police Bureau to quickly act and investigate this fully,” Sizer said.