Protesters decry police killing of Tigard man in Milwaukie
On June 25, around 250 people marched from the North Clackamas Aquatic Park to the Clackamas Sheriff's Office to protest the police killing of a Tigard resident.
Derrick Dewayne Clark, a "family man" killed by an Oregon State Police trooper and a Clackamas County deputy was remembered as a "good person who was doing good work in the community," according to the organization he volunteered for, the Insight Alliance.
Clark, who was Black, had been training to teach in the nonprofit organization's Insight to Wellbeing program, which aims to reduce recidivism by working with Oregon inmates. Clark was shot to death following an attempted traffic stop on June 18, when CCSO Detective Dan Ferguson and OSP Trooper Zachary Cole said they saw Clark emerge from his vehicle with a gun.
A native Portlander who worked for a design and building firm called Green Hammer, Clark became an advocate for youth in the community through the organization that he was introduced to while experiencing incarceration at MacLaren Youth Facility.
Clark was killed after a pursuit that started in unincorporated Clackamas County led officers into Milwaukie shortly before 1 a.m. June 18. Protesters and representatives of the Insight Alliance question why the police pursuit occurred at all when Clackamas County Sheriff Angela Brandenburg implemented a policy limiting when deputies could engage in pursuits last September.
Brandenburg ordered the policy after deputies chased an alleged shoplifter and the high-speed pursuit resulted in a fatal hit-and-run involving a third vehicle.
Clark was believed to be driving under the influence of intoxicants when law enforcement tried to pull him over. Protesters pointed out that DUII is typically a misdemeanor, so they wondered why Clark was pursued for a non-felony, in apparent violation of Brandenburg's new policy.
Brandenburg said in September that the policy doesn't apply when the suspect's driving is deemed dangerous enough to threaten other drivers or pedestrians.
Instead of pulling over, officials said Clark ignored the lights and sirens while driving into Milwaukie, ending up in a ditch near the corner of Southeast Railroad and Wood avenues, west of the North Clackamas Aquatic Park.
Clark was ordered to get out of the car and show his hands, but the Clackamas County District Attorney's Office said he got out of the car with a handgun. Clark was shot twice and died at the scene, the DA said.
Milwaukie resident Lisa Ball, who lives near where Clark was shot and witnessed some of the events, said she heard a loud crash at 12:54 a.m. That same minute, she heard someone say, "Get out of the f***ing car," followed by what sounded like a gunshot. Then there was a long pause, Ball said, followed by four more consecutive rapid shots. She called 911 at 12:55 a.m. and was told police were already in the area.
Ball said that at least an hour and a half elapsed between when Clark would have been shot and when medical aid could have been rendered. Based on the position of the officers, Ball believes that Clark had been wounded by the police gunfire before running across the railroad tracks into some bushes, where he died.
Dozens of police officers arrived to cordon off the area over the next hour, but it seemed like nothing was happening, so Ball said at this point she prepared for bed. Then at 2:15 a.m. she and other neighbors received a shelter-in-place alert on their cell phones.
At 2:24 a.m., police used a bullhorn to repeatedly demand that Clark come out from the other side of the railroad tracks, and Ball said that they used several explosive devices between 2:30 and 3 a.m., along with a police dog.
Ball called for an investigation into the police's role in the killing because of Clark's many friends and family members who are grieving.
"I just want to make sure that a full investigation is complete and that jobs were done correctly," she said. "No matter what, there was a loss of life, and that is tragic."
Both police officers involved in the shooting are on leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard procedure in these cases.
The investigation continues and the DA said the case will later go to a grand jury for review. The DA's office said that detectives from Oregon City and Lake Oswego would be investigating the police response.
There have been at least four fatal shootings during pursuits by Clackamas County sheriff's deputies since June 2021. In June last year, deputies shot and killed 44-year-old Jeremiah Lee Wright; in September last year, a deputy shot and killed 26-year-old Nathan Thomas Honeycutt; and in January, deputies shot and killed Wesley Chance, 32.
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