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Homicide Detectives Continue Investigation

September 21, 2006 00:00


Portland Police Bureau Homicide Detectives are continuing to ask for witnesses to come forward who encountered police action on September 17, 2006, at approximately 5:30 p.m. near Northwest 11th Avenue and Northwest Everett Street. The action involved the arrest of 42-year-old James Phillip Chasse, who later died while receiving medical treatment after being taken into custody by Portland Police Officers and a Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Deputy.

On September 17, 2006, Chasse was initially observed by Sgt. Nice, Officer Humphreys and Deputy Burton in the area of Northwest 18th Avenue and Northwest Everett Street while they were contacting another subject. The officers described Chasse acting in a bizarre manner as if he was under the influence of intoxicants or possibly suffering from a mental disorder. Once Chasse made eye contact with the officers he immediately left the area in the opposite direction.

The officers again observed Chasse standing in the 1300 block of Northwest Everett Street. Based on Chasse’s body language and actions Officer Humphreys believed he might have been urinating on the street. The officers approached Chasse on foot and came within 15 feet of him, at which point Chasse turned around, saw the officer approaching and immediately ran in the opposite direction. Officers pursued Chasse on foot. As they reached him an officer pushed Chasse in the back with his forearm which caused Chasse to stumble to the ground. Chasse then fought violently with the officers as they attempted to take him into custody. During the fight Chasse bit one of the officers and attempted to bite another. One of the officers used his Taser in the drive stun mode, which had no apparent affect on Chasse.

After being taken into custody, the officers requested medical attention for Chasse because he appeared to have lost consciousness. An ambulance crew and Portland Fire Bureau personnel responded to the scene, evaluated Chasse and determined his vital signs were all normal. They relayed the information to the arresting officers who then transported Chasse to the Multnomah County Detention Center to lodge him on the charges of Assaulting a Public Safety Officer and Resisting Arrest.

While at the booking facility, Chasse was evaluated by the nursing staff who determined Chasse should receive further medical evaluation at a hospital prior to being accepted for booking. Chasse was transported to local hospital and at some point during the transport, appeared to lose consciousness. The transporting officers immediately requested medical personnel respond to Northeast 33rd Avenue and Northeast Clackamas Street and then they attempted to resuscitate Chasse. Medical personnel eventually arrived on scene and took over the resuscitation efforts. Chasse was later pronounced dead after arriving at a local hospital.

The Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office is withholding the cause of Chasse’s death pending the results of toxicology tests, which are expected in the next couple of days. All officers involved in the incident have been interviewed.

“We are aware of the complaints that citizens have filed with the Independent Police Review Division (IPR),” says Chief Rosie Sizer. “As with any death of an individual that occurs in police custody we want to ensure a thorough investigation is completed. Once that occurs, the case will go to the Grand Jury and then the entire case will be made available through the public records process.”

Portland Detectives are asking anyone who had contact with Chasse, or has knowledge of his actions prior to his contact with the police, to contact Detective Lynn Courtney at (503) 823-0451 or Detective Jon Rhodes at (503) 823-0459.

This investigation is continuing.


Media Relations:
Sgt. Pete Simpson
Desk: 503-823-0830
Pager: 503-790-1779

Portland Police Bureau
1111 SW 2nd Ave, Suite 1526
Portland, Oregon 97204



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