There are two versions of what happened when Portland Police Officer Chris Humphreys took James Chasse down to the ground after pursuing him. Multiple witnesses say Chasse was brought down in a "bear hug" or "flying tackle," while Humphreys later said he had used the bureau's recommended "knockdown" technique.
Here's eyewitness Constance Doolan describing the scene as she was on the way to dinner:
Q. When you first saw the officers and Mr. Chasse, did you see any contact with them?
A. Yes. I believe there was weight of one of the officers, I'm not sure who, on—on Mr. Chasse as they hit the pavement.
A. It was a bit of a pile.
Analysis of tapes recorded at the Multnomah County jail while the officers were trying to book the injured Chasse seem to depict Humphreys bragging about how he tackled Chasse, according to Chasse family attorney Tom Steenson. Later, speaking with investigators, Humphreys said he had used a "knockdown" technique. It's described in a Fall 2007 training division report:
While the officer is paralleling the suspect and gets close enough to touch the suspect, the officer should shove the suspect hard from the rear, in the middle of the back between the shoulders. This will cause the suspect's body to go ahead of his feet and fall forward onto the ground.
Sheriff's Deputy Bret Burton, who was also responding, described how he jumped in after the takedown.
Deputy Burton believed he punched Mr. Chasse in the back, as a pain compliance tactic, in the effort to get him to stop resisting. He also used the knuckle of his right index finger and pressure pointed Mr. Chasse's ribs as a pain compliance tactic to gain control. When these techniques failed, Deputy Burton drive-stunned Mr. Chasse with the Taser.
That same report said that the decision to use the knockdown technique (if that's indeed what was used) was "in-consistent with the Training Division's Tactical Doctrine" because "no articulated information was found that documented the fact that Mr. Chasse had committed a crime."
Former Police Commander Donna Henderson defended the cops in her response, saying that Chasse was likely dangerous.
With hindsight I believe it is fair to say that because of Mr. Chasse's state of mind any contact with the police would have provoked a violent (fear) based reaction [sic]. Regardless of methods used to take Mr. Chasse into custody there would have been a fight.
Henderson also wrote that the use of force after the takedown (punching, pressure points to the ribs, etc.) was justified because "Mr. Chasse fought violently." She said that all other aspects of the officers' conduct were also "in policy." She concluded by saying, "Any recommendations I might have had have already been outline [sic] very well in the Training Division's recommendations."
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