*The family of Michael Brown is planning to pursue a civil lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, and former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, an attorney for the family announced Thursday.
The news comes just one day after the U.S. Department of Justice officially announced its decision not to file federal charges against Wilson for fatally shooting Brown last July.
In a press conference, family attorney Anthony Gray expressed the family’s disappointment in the Justice Department’s decision and announced the next legal actions they plan to take.
“We are officially formulating a civil case that we anticipate will be filed very shortly on behalf of the family,” Gray said. “We plan to demonstrate in a court of law that Wilson’s choice to use deadly force was unreasonable and unnecessary.”
Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., attended the conference but did not make any comments. However, their frustration with the department’s decision is widely shared by many local officials, residents and protesters — some of whom took to the streets Wednesday evening to protest.
The criticism was further fueled by a scathing report released by the Justice Department, also on Wednesday. The report revealed that the city of Ferguson had engaged in unconstitutional patrolling practices that routinely discriminated against African-Americans. It also disclosed emails proving racial bias on behalf of Ferguson police officials.
“[It] really just confirms what many of us already knew and what has been experienced by many African-Americans here in the St. Louis region for quite some time,” St. Louis Alderman Antonio French told HuffPost Live on Wednesday, referring to the report.
“Some of the specific details were shocking, [but] there’s a culture that’s been allowed to fester in Ferguson and one that’s really been experienced by African-Americans for years and boiled over last year,” French continued.
Attorneys for the Brown family say they hope some level of accountability can be reached through the civil case. Meanwhile, French has taken the lead in calling for the resignation of the chief of the Ferguson Police Department.
“I think some of the specific details outlined in this Department of Justice report really make it impossible for him to stay there,” he said. “When you have the culture that exists with these racist emails … the stats alone suggest he needs to go.”