Slain African-American's family to sue Ferguson officer

The family of Michael Brown - the African-American youth killed by a white police officer in Ferguson in the US state of Missouri last year - has decided to sue the accused officer.

IANS| Last Updated: Mar 06, 2015, 15:14 PM IST

Washington: The family of Michael Brown - the African-American youth killed by a white police officer in Ferguson in the US state of Missouri last year - has decided to sue the accused officer.

The attorney for the family, Daryl Parks, made the announcement on Thursday at a press conference at a church near the town of Ferguson.

The unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police officer Darren Wilson. His death sparked off a wave of protests, resulting in dozens of arrests and reopening a nationwide debate on racial discrimination by the police.

By filing the civil lawsuit, the family is seeking financial compensation after the route through a criminal court was closed on November 24 when a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson for murder.

According to a US justice department report, released on Wednesday, prosecutors did not find that the actions of Wilson constituted sufficient grounds to indict him for civil rights violations.

Brown`s parents have never accepted the police version of the incident, however, and have decided to sue the officer and Ferguson authorities.

The justice department on Wednesday also presented the conclusions of another report in which it accused the Ferguson police of racial discrimination while making traffic stops, unwarranted arrests and using excessive force targeting members of the town`s African-American community.

The report also states that over the past two years, African-Americans living in Ferguson, and making up 67 percent of the population there, were the targets of 85 percent of the traffic stops, 93 percent of the arrests and 88 percent of the cases in which police used force.

US Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday strongly urged local authorities to take measures to correct this behaviour.