Photo from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
At the risk of having entirely too much Ferguson news on tap today, Leslie McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr., the biological parents of the 300 pound man shot and killed by a police officer last August, have filed a wrongful death suit against the City of Ferguson, the municipality where the incident took place. Â The episode sparked local protests and violence and nationwide demonstrations.
In addition to the City of Ferguson, Police Chief Tom Jackson (who has since resigned from the force), the officer involved in the shooting (Darren Wilson who has resigned and is living in hiding), and Mayor James Knowles, III, were named as defendants.
The suit is intended to change the policies and procedures within the police department in Ferguson that Brown’s parents and their attorneys allege are racist.
In part, the suit contends that Ferguson police officers have a “pattern and practice of using unreasonable and excessive force” against black people. They “often escalate encounters” with blacks when the officers perceive a black person is disobeying orders, the suit contends.
“The linguistic choices uttered by Defendant Wilson indicate that he perceived (Michael Brown) to be subhuman or animal-Âlike, or, at times, to possess nonsensical and stereotypic superhuman powers,” the suit says. For instance, Wilson said Brown looked like a demon or the Incredible Hulk and made a grunting noise during the encounter.
Michael Brown was a large man. Â In the heat of the moment, such comparisons are not out of line. Â A grand jury found that officer Darren Wilson acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Brown who was found to have marijuana in his system at the time.
There are many people who will contend that this is a lunge for money. Â The family, however, denies that.
The suit does not seek a specific dollar amount. It seeks punitive damages and compensatory damages, including medical treatment for psychological damages. The suit also wants the circuit court to order the police in Ferguson to stop using patrol techniques that the suit says demean black residents.
How that will be proven remains to be seen. Â All that we know at this point, is that the incident is not over yet, and the courthouse in Clayton will be another zoo a some point in the future.
P.S. Michael Brown was living with and being raised by his paternal grandmother. Â She’s not suing for anything.