The family of Michael Brown announced Thursday plans to file a civil lawsuit against Darren Wilson, a former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who fatally shot the unarmed man last August. Anthony Gray, the St. Louis attorney representing Brown’s family, said the family delayed announcing the lawsuit until federal officials completed their investigation into the shooting, which set off nationwide protests and local violent unrest over police conduct in minority communities. Another attorney for the family said the lawsuit is likely to also name the city of Ferguson, among other defendants.
“We are officially in the process of formulating a civil case that we anticipate will be filed very shortly on behalf of the family,” Gray said, according to multiple reports. “The burden of proof for the federal and state investigation is far different from the burden of proof in a civil case. However, you will get a more clear, more accurate picture of what took place that day."
The announcement comes one day after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that there would be no federal criminal civil rights charges against Wilson in Brown’s shooting. A report on the Department of Justice investigation into the shooting refutes the claims of witnesses that Brown had his hands up to surrender when Wilson fired several shots at him. “We feel and 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 he had other options available to him,” Gray said.
A grand jury chose not to indict Wilson in Brown’s death last November, sparking weeks of protest, including in Ferguson, where some unlawful demonstrators burned police cars and set fire to local businesses. Darryl Parks, the other family attorney, said the last 24 hours had been difficult for the family. However, he said, they were encouraged by the DOJ’s searing indictment of the Ferguson Police Department and its unfair and unconstitutional targeting of African-Americans with traffic tickets and arrests.
Wilson hasn’t spoken much publicly about incident. In November, he gave a single network television interview in which he expressed some remorse for Brown’s death. But Wilson stopped short of offering an outright apology to the family in the ABC News broadcast. "It's always going to be something that happened,” he said before adding, “The reason I have a clean conscience is that I know I did my job right.”