Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Parents of Michael Brown Prepare Civil Lawsuit

FERGUSON, Mo. (CN) - Michael Brown's parents will file a wrongful-death lawsuit against Darren Wilson and the city of Ferguson, they said Thursday.

Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old, was shot to death by Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer, on Aug. 9. The shooting sparked months of often violent protests in the Ferguson area against police racial bias.

The announcement from Brown's family comes one day after the U.S. Department of Justice officially closed its investigation into the shooting, finding the evidence insufficient to charge Wilson.

A related report released at the same time by the DOJ meanwhile bashed the Ferguson Police Department over a pattern of racism and other civil rights violations that its officers committed against the public.

It has been over three months since a St. Louis County grand jury decided on Nov. 24 against indicting Wilson on criminal charges.

Brown family attorney Anthony Gray said the wrongful-death suit would pretty much outline the same evidence that the grand jury and the DOJ considered, but shed a better light on what truly happened.

"You will get a more clear, more accurate picture of what took place that day," Gray told reporters. "We feel, as we've always felt from the very beginning, that Officer Darren Wilson did not have to shoot and kill Mike Brown Jr. in broad daylight in the manner that he did. That other options [were] available to him."

Brown's parents did not speak at the press conference. Gray would not elaborate beyond saying the lawsuit would be filed soon.

Though the evidence may be similar, a civil wrongful-death suit does not have the same burden of proof than a criminal case does. Instead of needing to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, the burden in a civil case is a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that there is just enough evidence to make it more likely that the allegations in the lawsuit are true.

After the DOJ released its reports concerning Wilson and the Ferguson Police Department, about 50 protesters gathered Wednesday night in front of the Ferguson Police Department. There were four arrests, but no violence or property damage was reported.

Follow @@joeharris_stl
Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.