PORTLAND, Ore. — A group of demonstrators brought traffic to a standstill briefly along busy Southeast 82 Avenue near Clackamas Town Center on Saturday. The crowd marched several blocks to remember Derrick Clark. The 24-year-old was shot and killed by police last weekend after a traffic stop and pursuit in Clackamas County.
“I don’t want him to be just another Black man that got killed by the police,” said Clark’s mother, Sarah Miles who addressed the crowd outside the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. “They’re not giving us answers. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Clark was a teacher-in-training with The Insight Alliance, a nonprofit which provides support and counseling for inmates. Clark was introduced to the program while serving time at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility as a teenager.
“Right from the get-go, he was engaged,” said Anna Debenham, program director for The Inside Alliance. “Derrick really wanted to stay involved because he really wanted to help people.”
According to investigators, officers tried to stop Clark on June 18, just before 1 a.m. because they suspected he was driving under the influence. Police say he took off and drove into a ditch near Southeast Railroad Avenue and Southeast Wood Avenue in Milwaukie.
Witnesses said police told Clark to show his hands. He got out of the car armed with a handgun, said prosecutors — but investigators haven’t said if he was pointing it at anyone or even holding the gun.
An Oregon State Police trooper and Clackamas County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed the 24-year-old.
“Why did they actually chase him? Why did they pursue?” asked community activist Andre Miller.
Clark’s family and friends question whether officers may have violated agency policy.
Clackamas County deputies are only supposed to engage in pursuits when they believe the person has committed a felony crime. According to investigators, Clark was being pursued for DUII, a misdemeanor.
Additionally, Clark’s family wants to know what type of medical aid was rendered and how quickly. They’re also wondering why it took so long to be notified of Clark’s death.
In a written statement, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said more information will be released following an autopsy and additional investigation.