Chasse, a mildly schizophrenic man died in the police car on the way to the hospital, after jail officials refused to book him due to his severe injuries. |
Lightly attended but vibrant and energetic the gathering marched repeatedly around the entire block on which the Portland Central Precinct is located, moving several times past the front doors of the Justice Center.
They eventually gathered in front of the Justice Center, loudly explaining their presence to all who passed by and severely condemned the Portland Police Department for this and many other deaths of unarmed citizens at the hands of the PPD. These condemnation were not only vocal but spelled out in bright chalk upon the sidewalk.
This homicide is only one of many instances where unarmed citizens have died at the hands of Portland police. Kendra James, James Jahar Perez, Jose Mejia Poot, Fouad Kaady, Lukas Glen were named on a sign being held at the event. But this list is by no means exhaustive. All these, and more, were unarmed, and somehow threatened the officers enough to use deadly force against them.
The one spokesperson for the event insisted that the only remedy for the situation was community action, that the PPD could not be trusted to police themselves, as is still now the case, here and in most parts of this country.
The action was organized by Portland Coalition Against Poverty, who can be reached at 503-839-3670.
Whether the problem is, as the spokesperson said, "racist, sexist, classist and mean spirited cops," or those policies which esteem the lives of officers above those citizens they are sworn to protect, the problem is not being solved and people continue to die. Poor people, people of color, the mentally ill or emotionally disturbed are killed and the circumstances of these deaths are always ruled "justifiable."
This Protest on the second anniversary of the homicide of James Chasee insures that he will not be forgotten. And too, these many others are remembered, as they certainly are remembered and missed by their families and friends. The manner of their death is a festering wound IN our Community which will not be healed until police abuse of power is halted by the combined actions OF that Community.
Video of Protest at Central Precinct.