Police in Missouri are being sued for their handling of the Ferguson unrest following the shooting of Michael Brown. A group of six filed a $40 million lawsuit Thursday (Aug. 28) accusing the police departments of using excessive force and making unwarranted unrest.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, says law enforcement met a broad public outcry over the Aug. 9 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown with “militaristic displays of force and weaponry,” (and) engaged U.S. citizens “as if they were war combatants.”
The lawsuit seeks a total of $40 million on behalf of six plaintiffs, including a 17-year-old boy who was with his mother in a fast-food restaurant when they were arrested. Each of the plaintiffs was caught up in interactions with police over a period from Aug. 11 to 13, the suit allege.
Named as defendants are the city of Ferguson, St. Louis County, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Delmar, Ferguson police officer Justin Cosmo, and other unnamed police officers from Ferguson and St. Louis County.
Neither the city, county nor police departments had any immediate comment on the lawsuit.
The arrests occurred between the dates of Aug. 11 and Aug. 13. Plaintiffs, Damon Coleman, Dewayne Matthews, Kerry White, Theophilus Green, and Terry Williams along with her minor son, all claim that they were arrested unjustly.
Coleman and Green say they were hit with tear gas, and attacked while “peacefully protesting.” White had his phone broken by a cop as he was filming footage out of his car window, and Williams, says she was arrested in McDonald’s while trying to buy her son ice cream.
Matthews was walking to his mother’s house when police shot him with rubber bullets, then proceeded to “pounce on him” after he fell into a creek. He also all
eges cops, “pushed his head into the water to the point that he felt he was going to be drowned.”