May 17th, 2010 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall, Politics

Albina Ministerial Alliance Speaks on Chasse Settlement, Last Week's Shooting and the New Chief

LeRoy Haynes

The Albina Ministerial Alliance held a news conference this morning in Northeast Portland's Allen Temple C.M.E. Church to catch up on a busy week of big news dealing with police. The AMA's Coalition for Peace and Justice was formed to push for police reform after the Jan. 29 shooting of Aaron Campbell.

In the last week, much has occurred to draw the AMA's attention.

First came the announcement May 11 that the city had settled its lawsuit over the death of James Chasse Jr. in police custody. The city agreed to pay the Chasse family $1.6 million and release documents pertaining to the investigation.

"We rejoice with the Chasse family that their long, hard fight to achieve a semblance of justice in the unjust and unnecessary death of their son, James Chasse, has come to an end," said the AMA's Rev. LeRoy Haynes. "While the financial victory of the settlement for the family does not carry the force of winning in a court trial, it does send a clear message that the city feared going to trial and losing."

Next came Mayor Sam Adams' announcement the morning of May 12 that he was taking over the police bureau from Commissioner Dan Saltzman, firing Chief Rosie Sizer and installing a new chief, Mike Reese. As we've already reported, the AMA had sought a larger role in naming a new chief.

"We are greatly concerned about the lack of community stakeholders' input in the process," Haynes said. "Our expectation is that this does not indicate a future trend regarding the leadership style of Mayor Sam Adams."

And finally, Haynes said the May 12 shooting death of 25-year-old Keaton Otis by gang police in Northeast Portland may prompt the AMA to launch its own investigation of the incident.

"At the end of the day, we still have a young African-American male with a mental-health disorder dead and a police officer wounded," Haynes said. "This deadly force shooting only adds fuel to the tension and mistrust between the Portland police bureau and the community it serves."
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