Michael Brown family to sue Ferguson over teen's 'wrongful death'

  • AFP, Washington
  • Updated: Apr 23, 2015 15:00 IST

The family of an unarmed African American teenager killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri said Wednesday it will sue the city for his "wrongful death."

The family said in a statement they will formally announce a "civil suit against the City of Ferguson in the wrongful death of Michael Brown."

The Brown family is expected to make the announcement Thursday morning along with their lawyers.

Brown, 18, was killed by officer Darren Wilson last August after he was stopped on suspicion of robbing a box of cigarillos.

The death unleashed nation-wide protests and sparked debate about race relations and excessive police force.

A grand jury in Missouri's St Louis County opted not to indict Wilson last November after he testified that he acted in self-defense after
Brown tried to grab his pistol.

Others maintain that Brown had put his hands up in a gesture of surrender when Wilson pulled the trigger. Ferguson, with a population of 21,000, is two-thirds African-American, but its police force and city council are overwhelmingly white.

A US justice department inquiry released in March agreed with the grand jury decision, saying there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Wilson for the youth's death.

But it exposed a history of racial bias within the Ferguson police force, and said blacks were targeted as a way to generate municipal revenue through traffic fines and court fees.

Ferguson's police chief, municipal judge and city manager have since resigned.

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