Lawyers for the family of Michael Brown said Thursday they are gearing up for a wrongful-death lawsuit against Ferguson, Missouri, police and Officer Darren Wilson — a day after federal prosecutors cleared the ex-cop in the unarmed teenager's fatal shooting.
The suit will be filed "very shortly," lawyer Anthony Gray said at a news conference, and will include evidence that will present a "more clear, more accurate picture about what took place that day." Wilson previously told a grand jury that he feared for his life during the Aug. 9 encounter with 18-year-old Brown on a Ferguson street.
A Department of Justice report released Wednesday said there was not enough evidence to support prosecuting Wilson for federal civil rights offenses against Brown. But outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder said an investigation uncovered a "highly toxic environment" of racism and misconduct within the police force, aimed at the St. Louis suburb's black residents.
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Another lawyer for the family, Daryl Parks, said that while the standard for federal charges is more stringent, a civil suit could end up in the family's favor. "We get to set the stage, and we plan to do just that," Parks said.
The teen's parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, declined to speak to reporters, but their lawyer said that the Justice Department's decision Wednesday was difficult for the family to hear.
"For his parents to sit there and hear from DOJ officials was a tough day for them," Parks said, adding, "They don’t accept this self-defense theory."
Ferguson police and city officials didn't immediately respond to the Brown family's plans. On Wednesday night, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said the city has taken steps to correct misconduct on the police force, and has fired one official and suspended two others.
— Erik Ortiz