FERGUSON, Mo. (WRIC | Associated Press) – The parents of slain teenager Michael Brown, who was shot to death by a police officer last August, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson on Thursday.
Attorneys for Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr., filed the suit Thursday, a move that had been anticipated for months. The lawsuit aims is to uncover forensic evidence that could cast doubt on the version of events before and after the shooting presented by police.
“The narrative of the law enforcement all across the country for shooting unarmed people of color is the same: That they had no other choice,” attorney Benjamin Crump said. “But time and time again, the objective evidence contradicts the standard police narrative.”
The new lawsuit could prompt an extensive review of evidence in the case and force key witnesses to testify in court. Among these witnesses could be Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown.
Brown, 18, was unarmed and walking in the street with a friend on Aug. 9 when Wilson told them to move to the sidewalk. That led to a heated confrontation and a scuffle between Wilson and Brown inside Wilson’s squad car.
Wilson shot Brown after the scuffle spilled into the street. Some witnesses said Brown was trying to surrender, but Wilson said Brown was moving toward him aggressively, forcing him to shoot.
Brown’s shooting led to sometimes-violent demonstrations and spawned a national “Black Lives Matter” movement calling for changes in how police deal with minorities. In the end, local and federal authorities ruled that the shooting was justified. A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Justice Department declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned in November.
Civil cases generally require a lower standard of proof than criminal cases. Jurors must find a preponderance of evidence, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt needed to convict in a criminal trial.
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