It's fitting this comes out the same week Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse makes its debut at the Portland International Film Festival. The Mercury has obtained new information about a very public gun-waving road-rage incident involving Sergeant Kyle Nice, one of the officers who waved off an ambulance ride that might have saved Chasse's life.
Despite being urged by all five Police Review Board members to suspend Nice without pay (with four members voting for at least 40 hours) and also require anger management classes, Police Chief Mike Reese took it easier on Nice and handed out, instead, a letter of reprimand.
That's just one more nugget tucked inside an exclusive Mercury database, obtained through a records request, comparing Police Review Board findings against whatever discipline the chief actually ordered. Last week, we reported that Reese set aside calls to terminate two more officers, besides the demoted Lieutenant Todd Wyatt, who had been found untruthful by the PRB.
In its deliberations on Nice's road-rage case, the board was especially clear about his anger issues. It's unclear whether Reese's letter required anger management counseling.
Nice has been among the police bureau's most controversial officers. He went back on street duty in September only to be photographed, several weeks later, pepper-spraying teenagers during an unpermitted march against school budget cuts. He was suspended two weeks in the Chasse case, but just for not insisting on medical care, and even that suspension was overturned in arbitration. He was accused of intimidating a jailed protester in 2007.
A fellow cop, Thomas Brennan, had complained about Nice and his anger issues to Reese (still just Central Precinct commander) before the road-rage case. Brennan wound up suing the city and the police bureau after Reese—in a very unusual move—transferred Brennan to the bureau's evidence warehouse.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!