October 5th, 2009 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Cops and Courts

Mental Health Advocates Call on Chasse Officers to Resign (Updated with Union Comment)


Four organizations that deal with mental-health issues in Oregon are joining together to call for the resigations of the officers who arrested James Chasse Jr.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America of Oregon, Disability Rights Oregon and the Mental Health Association of Portland are asking elected officials and community members to join in calling for the voluntary resignations of Portland Police officers Chris Humphreys and Bret Burton, and Sgt. Kyle Nice.

Sgt. Scott Westerman, head of the police union, says mental-health advocates have focused on the three officers when in fact, Westerman says, the entire mental-health system is broken.

"This was a series of tragic events that came together with the death of James Chasse," Westerman says. "They want to blame these three officers when our position always has been, and always will be, that what those officers did was exactly in line with their training. It was exactly what any officer would have done."

Chasse, a 42-year-old Portlander who suffered from schizophrenia, died in police custody after he was arrested by those three officers for allegedly urinating on a Pearl District sidewalk in 2006. Chief Rose Sizer recently ruled that the officers' use of force was acceptable.

The mental-health organizations have announced a rally Thursday, Oct. 8, at 9 a.m. at the offices of Disability Rights Oregon, 620 SW Fifth Ave., suite 500. In an email (PDF) sent to supporters over the weekend, the groups published contact information for city officials. They urge supporters to contact these officials.

"We really want folks to ask the politicians to join us," says Jason Renaud of the Mental Health Association of Portland.

Speaking to politicos, Renaud says: "Your civil system failed here, but you still have a chance to save face."

Police Chief Rosie Sizer — rsizer@portlandpolice.org, 503-823-0000

Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman — dan@ci.portland.or.us, 503-823-4000

Mayor Sam Adams — samadams@ci.portland.or.us, 503-823-4000

Commissioner Randy Leonard — randy@ci.portland.or.us, 503-823-4000

Commissioner Amanda Fritz — amanda@ci.portland.or.us, 503-823-4000

Commissioner Nick Fish — nick@ci.portland.or.us, 503-823-4000

Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade — lavonne.griffin-valade@ci.portland.or.us, 503-823-4000
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