October 8th, 2009 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Cops and Courts

Call for Chasse Cops' Resignation Draws Church Leader, Small Crowd

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The Rev. LeRoy Haynes joined mental-health advocates today in calling on the police who arrested James Chasse Jr. to resign.

Haynes, representing the Albina Ministerial Alliance of North and Northeast Portland, likened Chasse's 2006 death in police custody to the earlier police shootings of Kendra James, James Jahar Perez and Jose Santos Victor Mejia Poot.

Quoting Martin Luther King Jr. that "we are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation," Haynes called Chief Rosie Sizer's decision to clear the officers for their use of force "a disservice to the justice system, police officers and supporters of community policing."

Chasse "cries out from the grave today for justice," Haynes said. "He cries out for the disabled, the mentally ill, the weak and the oppressed."

Haynes was joined at the microphone by Jason Renaud of the Mental Health Association of Portland, Bob Joondeph of Disability Rights Oregon and Beckie Child of Mental Health American of Oregon. They called on Portland Police officers Chris Humphreys and Bret Burton, and Sgt. Kyle Nice, to step down.

"Our city administrators and leaders have demonstrated they lack the political will to enforce accountability on this issue," Renaud said. "We ask that these three men, who have probably contemplated their actions more than anyone, take on a new, positive, restorative role, and begin to repair the damage they did."

"We are asking for the officers to look within themselves and do the right thing," Joondeph said. "They can stay and fight this out, or they can leave and still be heroes in a sense."

Sgt. Scott Westerman, head of the police union, has repeatedly said the officers did nothing wrong. Westerman tells WW he knows of no plans on the part of those officers to resign, and he hopes that they don't.

The event this morning at the downtown offices of Disability Rights Oregon drew a crowd of about 12 people in addition to the four speakers. There was roughly one journalist present for every four people in attendance, with reporters from KEX Radio, KGW Channel 8, WW and The Portland Mercury.
 
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