US DOJ v City of Portland – Pattern and Practice of Harm to People with Mental Illness | Settlement Agreement

Jason Renaud, Juan Chavez, J.D., and Amanda J. Marshall, J.D.

US DOJ v City of Portland is the first and only Federal civil rights lawsuit holding cities and their police department responsible for harm to people with mental illness. Portland advocates with lived experience of mental illness and legal skills joined together in 2018 to form an amicus to the case to advocate in Federal court on a regular basis. This group represents people with mental illness in Federal court, in mediation of the settlement, in local media and brings expertise and the public to the continuing discussion of police reform through a mental health lens.

This is a unique advocacy effort which has brought people with mental illness into Federal court as experts in their own experience, as peers to other amici and parties in the case, and as a strong influence on city and police policy.


Learning Objectives:

  • The history of harm caused by police to people with mental illness.
  • What powers the US DOJ and Federal courts have through the settlement of US DOJ v City of Portland.
  • What’s been accomplished to date – and importantly, how civil rights litigation falls short in representing the interests of people with mental illness.