Judge narrows Mike Brown family’s lawsuit against Ferguson

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ST. LOUIS (AP) – A federal judge has narrowed a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family of Michael Brown Jr. against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, its former police chief and the ex-police officer who fatally shot the black 18-year-old.

U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber on Tuesday dismissed four of the seven counts from the suit filed in April.

He told lawyers for Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden that they must make a more persuasive claim for damages on behalf of their late adult child. Brown’s parents didn’t attend the two-hour hearing in St. Louis.

The lawsuit was filed in St. Louis County Court but moved to federal court at the defense’s request.

Webber says he dismissed two “redundant” counts against former Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson and former Officer Darren Wilson.

Statement from Attorneys Benjamin L. Crump, Anthony D. Gray,  Daryl D. Parks and Jasmine Rand, attorneys for the family of Michael Brown, Jr.:

“The legal team representing the family of Michael Brown, Jr., gives deference and respect to the findings of the Court today at the hearing on Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss.  Today, significant portions of the City’s Motion to Dismiss were denied and at this juncture the parents of Michael Brown have plead sufficient allegations to proceed forward with their claims against Officer Darren Wilson in his individual capacity alleging that he used unconstitutional and excessive force against Michael Brown depriving him of his constitutionally guaranteed right to life, and that he denied Michael Brown, Jr. equal protection under the law because he was an African American citizen.  Similarly, the family’s claims will proceed forward against the City of Ferguson based on its alleged pattern and practice or custom and policy of the use of excessive force and denial of equal protection to African American citizens.  Furthermore, the parents of Michael Brown, Jr., are entitled to proceed forward with their allegations for the loss of their familial relationship to their son Michael Brown, Jr., or their alleged substantive due process rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.  The family voluntarily dismissed two of the counts in the lawsuit as they agreed the counts were duplicative of other counts.  Furthermore, Defendant moved to dismiss a Count of the Complaint based on the First Amendment; however, Plaintiffs stated that they never plead a claim under the First Amendment.  The First Amendment Count was dismissed without prejudice, and the family retains the right to bring the First Amendment claim in the future if their investigation of the facts so warrant.  Attorneys for the Michael Brown family are extremely pleased with the outcome of today’s hearing and consider it a victory, as the decisions made today allow the family to proceed with all of their significant claims against the Defendant Officers and City of Ferguson.”