“Federal Lawsuit Alleges Deadly Force Against Fugitive in Portland Shooting”

By | July 12, 2023



A federal lawsuit filed in Tacoma, Washington, alleges that police had no plan other than to use deadly force against Michael Forest Reinoehl, a fugitive who was on the run in 2020 after shooting a supporter of a far-right group during clashes between supporters of then-President Donald Trump and Black Lives Matter in Portland, Oregon. The lawsuit, filed by Reinoehl’s estate, claims that the officers involved either had no plan to arrest Reinoehl without injury, made no effort to follow such a plan, or planned to use deadly force from the start.

Reinoehl fatally shot Aaron “Jay” Danielson during clashes between racial injustice protesters and far-right groups. The shooting gained attention from Trump and further fueled tensions in Portland, which had already experienced weeks of violent protests against racial injustice and police brutality following George Floyd’s murder.

The federal task force attempted to arrest Reinoehl at an apartment complex in Lacey, Washington, when four officers fired at him, killing him. According to the lawsuit, officers in “militia-style fatigues” raced through a residential neighborhood in unmarked vehicles, spraying over 40 bullets, which resulted in Reinoehl’s death, grazing a child, and damaging cars, fences, playground equipment, buildings, and residences.

No criminal charges were filed against the officers involved in the shooting. Reinoehl’s estate is now seeking justice through the federal lawsuit.

Authorities involved in the case, including the Washington State Patrol, the U.S. Department of Justice, the city of Lakewood, and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, have not yet commented on the lawsuit.

This lawsuit follows a previous federal lawsuit filed by Danielson’s estate against the city of Portland, the mayor, and the Multnomah County district attorney. The lawsuit claimed negligence in handling the increasingly violent clashes in Portland, which allegedly created an environment that encouraged lawlessness and ultimately led to Danielson’s death.


As the lawsuit progresses, it remains to be seen how the court will evaluate the claims made by Reinoehl’s estate and whether it will provide any form of resolution for the tragic events that unfolded during the clashes in Portland..