PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Portland could face a lawsuit after Portland police shot and killed a man after mistaking him for a suspect.

Immannaeul Clark-Johnson was 30 years old when he was shot by police in Southeast Portland in November 2022. Stanley Clark, his uncle, told KOIN 6 News that it gets harder the more he hears details about the case.

“It’s just me and Manny was the only one I really talked to, and now I don’t even have that,” he said. “So it’s, like, it’s really rough.”

Grand jury transcripts show that officers had been following an armed robbery at a Super Deluxe when they spotted a car that appeared to match the search description.

The car Clark-Johnson was driving – which police say was reported stolen – had been stopped in a parking lot. When police arrived, officials said all people inside tried to run.

According to grand jury transcripts, the officer who fired, Officer Christopher Sathoff, had seen Clark-Johnson reach for his pocket and thought he had a gun.

The grand jury report found “subsequent investigations determined that Mr. Clark-Johnson was not in possession of a firearm, and after several hours on scene, investigators obtained video from the Super Deluxe, which confirmed that the suspect vehicle was not involved in the robbery.”

  • The driver of this car was shot by Portland police in the parking lot of Reedwood Friends Church in Southeast Portland, November 19, 2022 (KOIN)
  • Reedwood Friends Church in the 2900 block of SE Steele in Portland, November 19, 2022 (KOIN)
  • A loaded gun magazine is found on the ground near an officer-involved shooting in the Reedwood Friends Church parking lot in Southeast Portland, November 19, 2022 (KOIN)

Clark-Johnson’s family claims the Portland Police Bureau has a pattern of shooting people who are innocent. They are calling for PPB to change how they train officers to use force.

The suit notice claims officers using rifles on unarmed suspects is a pattern that “has persisted because of the city’s deliberate indifference to holding officers accountable for breaking police directives, trainings, and otherwise reasonable behavior.”

Juan Chavez, a director of the Civil Rights Project at the Oregon Justice Resource Center, said this isn’t a new pattern. 

“We’ve seen time and time again, and this goes back decades, that when armed police officers are approaching these high intensity situations – if there’s communications errors, if there are assumptions made about the people you’re approaching – that ends up killing people,” Chavez said.

KOIN 6 News reached out to the City of Portland, which declined to comment.

The grand jury heard from Officer Sathoff, who said, “He wasn’t moving like a person that I’ve run into…That is necessarily trying to get away from us. As the subject is moving in this direction. He’s still got his hands in his pockets and I don’t know why. I believed that he was going for a gun at this time.”

Stay with KOIN 6 as this story develops.