Ferguson Sued for $40 Million for Response to Protests

A federal lawsuit accuses police of overreacting to demonstrations, targeting innocent bystanders

Last Updated: August 29, 2014 @ 5:51 PM

A federal lawsuit filed Thursday accuses Ferguson, Mo., and St. Louis County police of using excessive force and falsely arresting innocent bystanders as they attempted to calm protests and unrest after the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

The lawsuit seeks $40 million. The five plaintiffs include a clinical social worker who said she and her 17-year-old son were roughed up and arrested after not evacuating a McDonald’s quickly enough, The Associated Press reported.

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They also include a 23-year-old man who said police shot him with rubber bullets and called him racial slurs as he walked through the protest zone to his mother’s home. Another plaintiff said he was arrested for filming.

The lawsuit names Ferguson Police chief Thomas Jackson, St. Louis County Police chief Jon Belmar, Ferguson officer Justin Cosma, several unnamed officers, and the city and county governments, the AP said.

A St. Louis County police spokesman referred questions to County Counselor Patricia Redington, who told the AP she had not seen the suit and declined comment.

Also read: Shoving, Arrests and Alleged Brutality: A Timeline of Tension Between Police and the Press in Ferguson