The family of slain teenager Michael Brown has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Mo. and former police officer Darren Wilson in the latest bid to claim justice for the 18-year-old. The lawsuit is also aimed at former Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson and calls for new measures to monitor police activity in the town.
Flanked by attorneys Anthony Gray and Benjamin Crump, the family announced on Thursday (April 23) details about the wrongful death suit filing. Brown’s parents claim in their suit that the city of Ferguson was essentially an environment unkind to Black people, and contend that’s why Officer Wilson drew his weapon and shot the teen dead. Gray shared at the brief news conference that he will present brand-new evidence that will highlight Brown was not a threat to Wilson in the moments before their fatal encounter.
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At Thursday’s press conference, Gray criticized the process that resulted in a county grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson last fall. The civil suit, he said, will give the Brown family an opportunity to present evidence to a jury in a way that is not slanted in the former officer’s favor.
Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., stood by as Gray explained their reasoning for filing the suit. Neither spoke, but both wore sweatshirts in honor of their son.
Michael Brown Sr.’s shirt said: “Mike Brown: Chosen for Change,” an apparent reference to the nationwide protests against police violence that have sprung up since the younger Brown’s death.
The announcement came as the entire nation is grappling with an alarming number of cases in recent times involving white police officers and slain Black people. Crump made mention of those cases during the press conference.
The Post-Dispatch reported that the parents were seeking unspecified damages, but other reports state they are seeking $75,000 and attorney fees.
Watch the press conference below.
Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch