The Oregonian broke the news late last night that the ambulance company that arrived on the scene of James Chasse's arrest in 2006 has settled its part in a federal wrongful-death lawsuit. According to reporter Maxine Bernstein's story, the company will pay around $600,000 to Chasse's family. That leaves the City of Portland and the police as the only defendants in the case.
In court depositions, the two paramedics who responded to the call said they were not aware of the details of Chasse's apprehension. They did not know he had a mental illness, and judged his condition by his blood pressure and complexion. The paramedics say police told them they had been chasing Chasse, and that he kept struggling until he suddenly stopped resisting.
Hergert said she had difficulty getting a blood pressure cuff on Chasse's arm, and looked at one of the officers to "communicate that I wanted the hobble removed. The officer said 'Not a chance' " and moved the patient's feet toward his arms to create more slack. She said she then was able to take Chasse's blood pressure. She said it was 119/73, calling that well within the normal range, and his pulse was 100, at the high end of normal, she testified in court documents.
Hergert said she had no idea Chasse suffered from a mental illness, and had overhead officers say they thought Chasse had drugs.
"Although in my opinion emergency transport to a hospital was not medically indicated, I offered to transport the patient. The officer declined and said the patient would be going to jail," she said, in a court filing.
The county jail refused to book Chasse after he had an apparent seizure in a holding cell. He died in a police car on the way to a hospital. Read the Mercury's ongoing coverage of the case here.