Lawsuit seeks $40 million for victims of police abuse
LAWSUIT: Atty. Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Justice announced a class action lawsuit on behalf of the “Ferguson Five,” city residents and others who the attorney said were abused by police during protests and a law enforcement crackdown in Ferguson, Mo.
By Dr. J.A. Salaam Special to the NNPA from The Final Call
ST. LOUIS (FinalCall.com) – Sweltering heat didn’t keep more than 50 people from gathering at the Eisenhower Federal Building for a press conference where Atty. Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Justice announced a class action lawsuit on behalf of the “Ferguson Five,” city residents and others who the attorney said were abused by police during protests and a law enforcement crackdown in Ferguson, Mo., after the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer.
“We are here to deliver what we have promised. There have been many victims of rogue forces. There are people who have come forth and we call them the Ferguson Five. These are the first of many more that this case will represent,” Atty. Shabazz said Aug 29.
Tracey White, Dwayne Matthews, Damon Coleman, Theophilus Green and Kerry White are like others who were handled with brute force by Ferguson and St. Louis police during heated protests, said the lawyer. “We are here because the police are out of control and have used excessive force. We just want to say to Chief Thomas Jackson, justice will not sleep,” said Atty. Shabazz.
The civil case is seeking $40 million in damages from Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, St. Louis Chief of Police Jon Belmar and a host of officers from Ferguson and the St. Louis police departments.
The press conference began at approximately 1:40 p.m. as the crowd patiently awaited arrival of the hard copies of the filing documents.
Attorney Shabazz came out the court building wearing dark shades, a nicely pressed gray suit and a red tie completely different look from the Black militant look he is known for, when he marched on the front lines with demonstrators out-raged by the Aug. 9 killing of the Black teenager.
The crowd began to chant, “No justice! No peace!” “Hands up! Don’t shoot” as he stepped in front of the cameras. Federal police formed a straight line across on the upper steps of the court building about 60 feet behind the lawyer and the crowd.
“People of the jury, if you feel that the police of Ferguson and St. Louis County are unjust and have treated the people wrong, please raise your hands,” he said.
With no hesitation all pre-sent raised their hands in agreement.
“The $40 million in damages sought could go higher; we intend on teaching them a painful economic lesson,” he said.