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Lawsuit accuses Portland police officer of excessive force in 2022 shooting of unarmed Black man

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A police officer in Portland, Oregon, has been accused in a federal lawsuit of excessive force over a 2022 fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man.

The officer shot Immanueal “Manny” Clark in the back as he ran away from officers who were responding to an attempted armed robbery call in the early hours of Nov. 19, 2022, according to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Oregon on Thursday. The officers had been told by dispatchers that the robbery suspects were white men, the lawsuit says.

The suit accuses the officer and the city of Portland of excessive force, wrongful death and negligence for failing to provide emergency medical care. It claims Clark lay on the ground, bleeding from the gunshot wound, for 26 minutes before receiving medical attention. He later died in a hospital.

The case was presented in August to a Multnomah County grand jury, which returned a “not true” bill and found the officer’s use of deadly force was not criminal.

The federal complaint refers to the victim’s last name as Clark throughout. The name of Clark-Johnson was used by police and in grand jury proceedings.

The Portland Police Bureau said its homicide unit and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office investigated the shooting as part of protocol.

According to the complaint, the victim of an attempted armed robbery in the parking lot of a Portland fast-food restaurant called 911 to report it and said three to four white men were involved. They said the men left the scene in a sedan.

Police ended up following a car despite not having probable cause that those inside were involved in the attempted robbery, the complaint alleges. After the car pulled into a church parking lot, officers decided to approach the car and conduct a so-called “high-risk stop.”

Clark was outside of the car near the driver’s door and ran as the officers exited their police cars. As he ran away, unarmed, the officer shot Clark in the back, according to the complaint.

The other people in or near the car were a Black man, a white woman and a white man, according to the complaint.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, in a memo summarizing its investigation into the case, said officers thought the car matched a similar description to the one used in the robbery and observed it driving recklessly.

The memo says the officer thought Clark had a gun but that the investigation found he did not. Video obtained from the fast-food restaurant after the shooting also found the car was not involved in the robbery, the memo says.

The federal lawsuit was filed by a representative of Clark’s estate.

Portland police and the mayor’s office both said they do not comment on pending litigation.

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This story has been updated to correct a headline that erroneously reported the cause of a lawsuit against a police officer in Portland, Oregon, involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man. In the suit, the officer was accused of excessive force, wrongful death and gross negligence for failing to provide immediate medical care.