Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 – 7:30pm
USA 2013. Dir: Brian Lindstrom

In 2006, James Chasse, a slight, quiet man suffering from schizophrenia was approached by three police officers in a Portland park. Frightened, James ran, and the officers pursued him, tackling him from behind, overpowering him and tasering him into submission. Although suffering from 16 broken ribs and a punctured lung, the officers took him to jail, where he died two hours later. The local paper reported: “Man called ‘combative’ dies in custody of police.” This heartbreaking and infuriating documentary explores the veracity of that headline: humanizing James (a once-promising artist) while peeling back the layers of obfuscation that characterized the inquiry that followed. Colour, Blu-ray Disc. 90 mins.

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Post-screening discussion with Camia Weaver, Justice Consultant, and a former lawyer who has previously worked with the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division. During her time with the CMHA, Camia coordinated local and province-wide projects to improve interactions between the police and persons living with mental illness, co-developed the Crisis Intervention program for first responders, made submissions to the Braidwood Commission, and was a subject matter expert on the team that developed Crisis Intervention and De-escalation training and Conducted Energy Weapon regulations for police in B.C.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.