Here’s something I learned from twenty years in law enforcement: Any police action which ends in serious bodily injury, permanent disability or death of the defendant-to-be is going to be followed by a lawsuit. And it really doesn’t matter if the police action which resulted in the death or injuries was justified or not justified. Reuters has a report up today which tells us that the family of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed last summer by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, is filing a lawsuit against the city. From Reuters:
(Reuters) – The family of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old killed in Ferguson last summer by a white police officer, will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, attorneys for the family said on Wednesday.
Brown’s shooting by officer Darren Wilson last August sparked a wave of angry demonstrations and unrest over police violence, particularly against minorities.
Here’s a news flash: Sometimes there is no other recourse in a police action than for an officer to use more violence than the defendant-to-be is using, either in defense of the officer’s life or in defense of an innocent bystander’s life. It’s terribly unfortunate that police officers are called to respond to anything. When they are called to handle something unpleasant or violent, occasionally the officers are left no other recourse than to use extreme levels of force to end the incident. Occasionally.
The lawsuit will be filed on Thursday morning, lawyers Benjamin Crump and Daryl Parks said in a brief statement.
“Legal counsel will speak with members of the media immediately following” the filing, the lawyers said, but gave no further details, including the amount of damages to be sought.
The filing has been expected since the family said last month it would file the civil case.
No one should ever be surprised when these suits are filed. And many times, the governmental entity (in this case the City of Ferguson, Missouri) which is named as the defendant will offer a monetary settlement as a less-expensive alternative than to pay a team of lawyers to fight the suit in a trial. The suit may be justified by the facts and circumstances of the incident, or it may not be justified, due to the actions of the deceased defendant during the incident. Sometimes, its just cheaper for the officer’s employer to abandon the facts and offer the settlement. There is no way to know at this point which alternative the City of Ferguson will choose.
That announcement came a day after the U.S. Justice Department cleared Wilson of any civil rights violations in the shooting of Brown last August. But the department’s report found racial bias and a pattern of illegal actions against African-Americans by the Ferguson Police Department.
A pattern of illegal actions against African-Americans. Nothing specific provided here by Reuters. It’s sort of a typical, garden-variety, figurative media shotgun blast directed at cops. Nonetheless, it’ll suffice to arouse and sustain anger among the uninformed. Again, it doesn’t matter if the cop was justified. Maybe he was. Maybe he wasn’t. The facts of the case don’t matter here.
Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson resigned last month, within days of the report’s release.
Can’t say I blame Jackson. It’s a lose if he stays and a lose if he leaves. Doesn’t matter which. Maybe, just maybe, if Mr. Brown hadn’t done that strong-arm robbery captured on surveillance video minutes before he was shot and killed, and if he’d cooperated with the officer in the first place, none of this would have happened. Maybe. But all that is irrelevant now. It’s time for a lawsuit.
A grand jury in Missouri decided in November not to bring criminal charges against Wilson, who has since left the police department.
Yes. And Wilson will be vilified for the rest of his living days, even after he dies, whether or not he was justified in killing Mr. Brown. Truth doesn’t matter here. Truth and the search for same is dead.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)