September 17th, 2008 is the second anniversary of the death of James Chasse Junior, Jim Jim, an early fixture in the Portland Punk Scene, a schizophrenic man living independently in Downtown Portland, and the victim of a brutal and fatal police beating.
Two years ago James Chasse was attacked and beaten to death by Multnomah County Sheriff deputy Bret Burton, Portland Police officer Christopher Humphreys and Portland Police Sargent Kyle Nice. on NW 13th and Everett before a dozen eyewitnesses. Chasse was not suspected of a crime, he had not committed a crime, and had no criminal record. The officers beat him, kicked him, tasered him repeatedly, and broke 17 ribs and his shoulder.
Chasse was sent by paramedics to jail, where the Jail nurses refused to admit him. He died en route to a hospital in the back seat of a police car driven by the same officers who had earlier beaten him.
The Multnomah County medical examiner ruled that Chasse died of blunt-force trauma to the chest, but declared the death “accidental.” A grand jury later cleared the officers of criminal wrongdoing. The officers involved are all back on duty.
This interview is with Jason Renault of the Mental Health Associaton of Portland, and film director Brian Linstrom , about James Chasse, and the film project about his life, called Alien Boy.
It also includes excerpts from the Public Memorial Service held for Chasse in October, 2006.
The film’s title comes from a song written about Chasse in 1979 by his friend, Greg Sage, lead singer of the seminal Portland punk band, the Wipers. He was also the subject of the song Nothing to Fear by Portland’s first all female punk band, the Neo Boys.