Medical Expert Witness On Federal Lawsuit Against Portland Police

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on James P. Chasse Jr. after he died in police custody says Chasse suffered 46 separate abrasions or contusions on his body, including six to the head and 19 strikes to the torso. Chasse, 42, who suffered from schizophrenia, died in police custody on Sept. 17, 2006. Two Portland officers, Officer Christopher Humphreys and Sgt. Kyle Nice, and then-Multnomah County sheriff’s deputy Bret Burton struggled to arrest Chasse after one of the officers said he appeared to be urinating on a city street. Police said he ran when they approached. They chased him, knocked him to the ground and struggled to handcuff him.

The medical expert witness said fractures to Chasse’s rear ribs also likely did not result from Chasse getting knocked to the ground or someone falling on top of him, but more likely resulted from a kick or knee-drop. Police procedures expert witness Lou Reiter, a retired Los Angeles police deputy chief hired by Chasse’s family, said in a statement filed in court that the officers used excessive force through “impact strikes,” kicking and using their knees once Chasse was on the ground.

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