Michael Brown shooting: Ferguson residents suing police for $40 million over 'excessive force'

Claimants say they were beaten and wrongly arrested amid unrest in St Louis

Police in Ferguson are being sued for $40 million (£24 million) by people claiming they were beaten, wrongly arrested and shot with rubber bullets in a show of “excessive force”  in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown.

The lawsuit filed on Thursday is from five people caught up in unrest in St Louis after the unarmed 18-year-old, who was black, was killed by a white officer.

A social worker said she and her 17-year-old son were “roughed up” and arrested for not evacuating a McDonald's quickly enough.

Tracey White said they were waiting for her husband to pick them up from the restaurant in West Florissant Avenue McDonald's after attending a “peace and love” rally at a Ferguson church on 13 August when several officers armed with rifles told her she was being arrested because she would not “shut up.”

She and her son were detained for five hours at the county jail on charges of failing to disperse, she said, but were not provided with any paper documentation of the charge.

“It was so horrifying,” she added. “We did nothing wrong.”

A demonstrator, protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, stands his ground as police fire tear gas in Ferguson A demonstrator, protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, stands his ground as police fire tear gas in Ferguson Another claimant, 23, said he was shot multiple times with rubber bullets and alleges that police directed racial slurs at him while walking through a protest area to his mother's home.

The fifth man claims he was wrongly arrested for filming the disturbances.

Malik Shabazz, a member of Black Lawyers for Justice, said the police were “completely out of control” in the period after Mr Brown’s death on 9 August.

“In those initial days, it was virtually a police riot,” he said.

The St Louis County force was criticised for its heavy-handed approach to protests, with the use of armoured police, rubber bullets, tear gas and curfews.

The lawsuit seeks $40 million (£24 million) in damages and names the Ferguson Police Chief, Thomas Jackson, St Louis County Police Chief, Jon Belmar, officer Justin Cosma and several unidentified officers known collectively as John Doe, as well as the city and county governments.

Mr Shabazz said the suit could be broadened to include additional claimants.

The Governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, called in America’s National Guard as demonstrations spilled over into clashes with police and looting.

President Barack Obama has since ordered a comprehensive review of policies that have “militarised” America’s police.

Additional reporting by AP

Read more: Father of Ferguson teenager pleads for calm on day of funeral
US to review militarisation of police in aftermath of Ferguson riots
St Louis police officer Dan Page suspended over video calling President 'illegal alien'
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory