At a press conference on Thursday, the parents of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014, announced that they have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, former police chief Thomas Jackson, and former police officer Darren Wilson.
Reuters reported that the Brown family is seeking “unspecified punitive damages, $75,000 in compensation and changes in policing,” and the lawsuit requests a court order “prohibiting the use of police techniques that demean, disregard, or underserve its African-American population.”
During Thursday’s press conference, the attorneys representing Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. said pursuing the civil lawsuit will lead to new evidence that will show that Wilson should have been indicted and held responsible for Brown’s death.
The attorneys said that this lawsuit is a way to “challenge the police officers who kill people of color,” and they used the recent examples of shooting victims such as Walter Scott, and Tamir Rice, to highlight the fact that “the standard police narrative is contradicted by the objective evidence” in many cases.
USA Today reported that the lawsuit alleges “Wilson violated Brown’s civil rights through a deprivation of his right to unlawful detention and the use of excessive and deadly force,” and it accuses both the city of Ferguson and former chief Jackson of “failing to hire, train, supervise, retain, and conduct a fair and impartial investigation, alleging the police department had a custom or policy of negligently hiring and retaining officers, failing to property train and/or supervise officers in the use of deadly force.”
On March 4, the Department of Justice announced that it declined to indict Wilson with any civil rights violations in the shooting that killed Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. Both the initial shooting, and the decision not to indict Wilson led to protests and riots throughout the city of Ferguson.
Michael Brown’s parents originally announced that they would file the lawsuit during a press conference on March 5. During that conference, their lawyer Anthony Gray, maintained the fact that they have felt from the very beginning that “Officer Darren Wilson did not have to shoot and kill Mike Brown, Jr. in broad daylight in the manner that he did, that he had other options available to him.”
Just days before the announcement was made that Wilson would not be indicted, the DOJ released a report, which revealed that the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, exercised discrimination against the black community by using excessive force, issuing minor citations and making unnecessary traffic stops.