Suit Paints Killer Ferguson Cop as Aggressor

     CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – A man who was with Michael Brown the afternoon that a Ferguson police officer shot and killed him has filed a lawsuit that paints a different version of the altercation than the one widely reported.
     Dorian Johnson filed the lawsuit in St. Louis County Circuit Court against Ferguson, former Police Chief Thomas Jackson and former Police Officer Darren Wilson.
     The April 29 lawsuit says Johnson and Brown were walking down Canfield Drive around noon on Aug. 9 when Wilson drove up in a marked police vehicle and told them to “Get the f*ck on the sidewalk.”
     Wilson then allegedly parked his vehicle at an angle to block their path and detained the men without criminal suspicion. Johnson claims that Wilson stopped the vehicle “just inches from Brown and forcefully opened the door, striking Brown.”
     The complaint describes Wilson as the aggressor.
     “Officer Wilson then reached through his window and grabbed Brown, who was closer to Officer Wilson than Plaintiff Johnson,” it says. “Officer Wilson thereafter threatened to shoot his weapon. As Brown struggled to break free, Officer Wilson discharged his weapon twice, striking Brown in the arm.”
     Fearing for their lives and surprised by the excessive use of force, Johnson claims he and Brown started running. At no time did Wilson yell “freeze” or “stop,” according to the complaint, which says Wilson shot Brown several more times, killing him, without provocation or justification.
     Brown’s death and the decision not to indict Wilson sparked months of often violent protests. As communities began keeping track of similar altercations across the country, Ferguson became ground zero in a worldwide discussion about racism and excessive force by police.
     Johnson’s lawsuit cites the Justice Department’s March 4 report that accuses the Ferguson police department of systematic racism.
     He says the report is proof that the Ferguson police department “has terrorized the African-American citizens in its community and engages in intentional discrimination on the basis of race.”
     Johnson claims the pattern of racist behavior within the Ferguson police department allowed Wilson to shoot at him and Brown because Wilson “did not fear any repercussion from defendants City of Ferguson or Thomas Jackson in taking the unlawful action.”
     After a St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Wilson in November, the DOJ conducted an independent investigation and also refused to file federal criminal charges.
     Johnson claims he has suffered severe psychological injury, emotional distress and lost wages from Wilson’s actions.
     Represented by Daniel R. Brown of Smith Brown, Johnson seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations, assault and emotional distress.
     Courthouse News obtained Johnson’s lawsuit late Monday so attempts to contact Ferguson for comment were unsuccessful.

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