On the second anniversary of his death, the family of Terrell Johnson, who was shot dead by Portland Police in 2017, has filed a lawsuit against the City of Portland and the officers and supervisors involved in the incident.
Johnson was 24 years old and living in the Portland area at the time of his death. On May 10, 2017, while experiencing a mental health crisis for which he had unsuccessfully sought help from medical providers, an encounter with Portland Police at the Flavel MAX station in SE Portland ended in his death.
Officer Samson Ajir was one of a group of Portland Police officers who responded to a 911 call from a bystander at the MAX stop who was concerned about Terrell Johnson. Ajir gave chase when Johnson ran away, then tripped on a curb and fired four shots at Terrell Johnson, fatally wounding him.
Alicia Johnson, mother of Terrell Johnson and plaintiff in the lawsuit, said:
“My son Terrell was a loving and kind person who would do anything to help anyone who needed it. He was a blessing to our family, and we are still dealing with the pain of losing him and of seeing his reputation tarnished. I’m bringing this lawsuit because I want to see the accountability that has been sadly lacking from Portland Police. I want justice for Terrell, and I want to help prevent this happening to another family.”
A 2012 review of policing in Portland by the US Department of Justice found that the Bureau had engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive use of force against people suffering from mental health problems.