Attorneys for the family of Michael Brown said Thursday that they will file a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the Ferguson Police Department, an announcement that comes one day after the Justice Department declared that Officer Darren Wilson will not face federal charges in the shooting death of Brown.
“We are officially in the process of formulating a civil case that we anticipate will be filed shortly on behalf of the family,” said Anthony Gray, an attorney for the family.
Brown’s parents declined to speak at a morning news conference announcing the pending lawsuit, but they released a statement Wednesday after the Justice Department cleared Wilson while also alleging that the Ferguson Police Department is systemically racist.
“While we are saddened by this decision, we are encouraged that the DOJ will hold the Ferguson Police Department accountable for the pattern of racial bias and profiling they found in their handling of interactions with people of color,” Brown’s parents said Wednesday. “It is our hope that through this action, true change will come not only in Ferguson, but around the country. If that change happens, our son’s death will not have been in vain.”
Attorneys for the family said that they disagree with the DOJ’s conclusion that Wilson did not commit any crime and was reasonably afraid for his life when he fatally shot Brown on Aug. 9.
The report on the shooting concluded that Brown probably attacked the officer and did not have his hands up in surrender when the shots were fired.
But protesters, civil rights groups and other observers have clung to the second DOJ report, a 100-page document that contained scathing findings and concluded that the Ferguson Police Department engages in a pattern and practice that is discriminatory.