On Sept. 17, 2006 James Chasse was stopped by three law enforcement officers on a busy streetcorner in Portland, Oregon. A dozen witnesses watched in horror as officers tackled, beat, kicked, and tasered James until he lay motionless on the pavement with 16 broken ribs and a punctured lung. He died in the custody of Portland police about two hours later. |
James had not committed a crime, so why did the officers attack him? Who was James Chasse? Officers told eyewitnesses he was a drug dealer, a homeless person, a non-person, a ghost. But that wasn't true at all. James was a writer, an illustrator, and a musician; he had a home and a family and friends who loved him. He was a small, shy, gentle person who had been living with schizophrenia for most of his life.
Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse examines his childhood, his intense involvement in the early Portland punk music scene, the heart-breaking teenage onset of his schizophrenia, and his brave efforts to avoid institutionalization and maintain his independence.
Using interviews, personal writings, archival footage, official documents and videotaped depositions of the involved police officers, the film explores James Chasse's life and the police actions and decisions that led to his death. What emerges is an intimate and complex story of one man's life, the Chasse family's struggle for justice, and a city and a system grappling with accountability.
Alien Boy: the Life and Death of James Chasse plays at Cinema 21, February 24-28. Tickets are on sale NOW https://www.boxofficetickets.com/go/event?id=212555
(The film plays PIFF on 2/15 but is sold out.)
Want to tell others about Alien Boy? See the media kit at http://alienboy.org/media
Want to see the trailer? It's at http://alienboy.org