“Fugitive’s Estate Alleges Deadly Force Plan in Lawsuit Over Portland Shooting”

By | July 13, 2023

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A federal lawsuit has been filed against police in Washington state, accusing them of using deadly force without a plan against a fugitive who was on the run in 2020. The fugitive, Michael Forest Reinoehl, had shot 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 alleges that the officers involved had no intention of arresting Reinoehl without injury, and either had no plan or did not follow one to apprehend him peacefully. Reinoehl fatally shot Aaron “Jay” Danielson during protests against racial injustice and police brutality, which were sparked by the murder of George Floyd.

Reinoehl was caught on surveillance video shooting Danielson, and Trump had publicly called for his arrest. A federal task force attempted to arrest Reinoehl at an apartment complex in September 2020, and four officers fired at him as he exited his car. The lawsuit claims that the officers fired more than 40 bullets through a residential neighborhood, killing Reinoehl and causing property damage.

The lawsuit also mentions that a Washington state prosecutor decided not to file criminal charges against the officers involved. The officers were operating as a U.S. Marshals Service task force, and the lawsuit seeks accountability for their actions.

The spokesperson for the Washington State Patrol declined to comment on the pending litigation, and requests for comment from the U.S. Department of Justice, the city of Lakewood, and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department went unanswered.

In a separate lawsuit filed last year, a judge dismissed a claim against the city of Portland, the mayor, and the Multnomah County district attorney by Danielson’s estate. The lawsuit alleged that negligence around the violent clashes in Portland created an environment that led to Danielson’s killing.

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The outcome of this new lawsuit will shed light on the actions of the Washington state police and the accountability of law enforcement in cases involving the use of deadly force..