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Cops, not public, should foot bill

by: JAMIE MARQUEZ, Police tactics and the handling of the mentally ill are still being challenged two years afer the death of James Chasse Jr.

Why is it that when a Portland cop kills someone and a claim is paid to the survivors, the city has to pay it (Why did James Chasse die?, Sept. 11)?

It should come from the police department's budget, not from the taxpayers. Maybe then they won't be so 'trigger happy' if they know they won't be getting their new toys that year.

Vic Pittman

Scotts Mills

Lawbreakers divert funds from worthy

For the partial answer to last week's front-page question: Why did James Chasse die? (Sept. 11), take a drive by Mayor Tom Potter's day-labor center in Portland.

There you will see a few of the thousands of undocumented workers who fraudulently siphon off millions of dollars each year that would otherwise go to things like mental health care for legal Oregonians (including James Chasse).

That Potter actually assists this - and the breaking of any number of laws - is an outrage. Let him know what you think.

Schools and other social services also are negatively affected by those undocumented workers who break our laws. It is your tax money being stolen and misused.

Dave Luck

Lake Oswego

Weed bad cops out of police department

I had a minor domestic dispute three years ago and ended up getting Tasered by the two cops who responded to the call.

From the cops' perspective, they were responding to a call that is statistically one of the more dangerous calls for police officers to deal with. They also were told the suspect was a large man around 6 feet, 250 pounds, and, if they ran me, discovered I was an ex-con.

I think the cops were a bit quick on the Taser button, but I created that situation with my actions. We don't pay the cops enough money to take any guff or question their commands. When a cop tells you to do something, you do it. If it's wrong, question it later in a courtroom if need be.

Chasse didn't deserve what happened to him (Why did James Chasse die?, Sept. 11). Chasse was mentally ill and didn't comply as he was told. Why didn't they just taze him? The Taser got my attention, let me tell you.

Based on Chasse's injuries, the cops were overly excessive. Officer Christopher Humphreys went too far. The best evidence of that is the injuries and 78 reported incidents in Humphreys' record of use of force.

Come on: One, two … maybe five or 10 incidents? Not 78. Humphreys should have been down the road at least after the 20th report.

Most of the time these incidents get out of hand due to suspects simply not complying - like me, and like Chasse.

I got tazed. I'm 6-0, 250 pounds, and it got my attention. No harm, no foul. Funny that the cops say the Taser was ineffective with Chasse.

Most of the Portland cops do a good job and we need to support them, just as they should support us in weeding out their department of the ones who are making them look bad - like Humphreys.

Robby L. Taylor

Urbandale, Iowa

Place the onus on drivers, not cyclists

Why did the Portland Tribune publish '10 simple rules for being a considerate bicyclist' (Bike etiquette 101, Sustainable Life, Sept. 11) rather that '10 simple rules for being a considerate motorist'?

After all, it's motorists who are endangering cyclists by not sharing the road and using their vehicles as deadly weapons to threaten cyclists when they get angry, not vice versa. In effect, the editors are encouraging drivers to see cyclists as encroaching on their territory. That's reckless.

The fact is our culture enjoys an ethic of power, not morality. Those with more power - whether it's horsepower, financial power, legal power or physical power - use it to advantage over those with less in small and large ways daily.

When it comes to motorized vehicles, the more powerful or larger the vehicle, the more the driver is likely to intimidate others with it, which is partly reflected in insurance rates.

That's barbaric, not civilized. The publisher and editors of the Portland Tribune need to demonstrate greater moral development and realize that the lives and safety of people, even cyclists, have a higher claim than that of drivers to optimize their travel times.

Tom Shillock

Northeast Portland

Make defibrillators, training mandatory

Thank you so much for your story on defibrillators. My heart goes out to Christeen Johnson and I support her effort 100 percent (Why won't Portland put defibrillators in all schools?, Aug 28).

I remember the City Council resolution and was under the impression that the school district had installed defibrillators in each school.

As a mother of three athletic boys and a family history of sudden cardiac arrest (a brother who died in his 30s while running and a father in his 50s while playing golf), I was stunned to see all the 'excuses' the district has come up with not to install them.

I strongly believe each elementary school should have at least one, and high schools should have several. They should be easily accessible during class time, athletic events and practices.

They are not difficult to use and training should be given to every staff member in the school. Training could be conducted by our local fire department or American Heart Association and incorporated into an already scheduled teacher planning day.

The school should designate one teacher (or athletic director) responsible for ongoing training and maintenance of the system. Defibrillators save lives. It is that simple.

Sarah Quist-Mazzocco

Northwest Portland