Portland Police Call On Seattle Cop Lawyers to Defend City In Misconduct Suit

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee March 19, 2010

Portland police have called in some legal heavy hitters from Seattle to defend the city in an excessive force case after a 42-year-old man was killed following a police foot chase last year.


The federal judge handling the pending lawsuit involving the death of James P. Chasse Jr. in Portland police custody earlier this month approved the city's request to have three out-of-state attorneys from a Seattle firm assist them in their defense, according to federal court documents.  

On March 8, U.S. District Court Judge Garr M. King granted the city's request to have [Seattle attorney Anne] Bremner, and her two colleagues, James R. Lynch and Theron Buck, from the Seattle-based firm Stafford Frey Cooper, be admitted to practice law in Oregon for the limited purpose of assisting the City of Portland in the Chasse case, court records show.

According to the Willamette Week,:

Chasse, 42, died Sept. 17 after an encounter with police in the heart of Portland's chichi Pearl District. The schizophrenic man who was known to friends as "Jim Jim" was, according to one officer's testimony, "doing something suspicious or acting just, um, odd."

When Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputy Brad Burton and Portland Police Officer Christopher Humphreys approached Chasse, he ran and the officers ran after him.

The official investigation concluded that Chasse died from "broad-based" trauma to his chest, caused solely when Officer Humphreys accidentally fell on top of Chasse. Chasse weighed 145 pounds. Humphreys outweighs him by about 100 pounds.


Stafford Frey Cooper frequently represents the Seattle Police Department in misconduct filed against the city, and Bremner recently represented former King County Sheriff's Deputy Paul Schene when he was charged with assault after he brutally beat a 15-year-old girl in a holding cell last year. The case resulted in a mistrial.

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