Michael Brown Family Will File Civil Suit for Wrongful Death Against Darren Wilson [UPDATE]

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Michael Brown's family at a protest in Clayton last summer. - JESSICA LUSSENHOP
  • Jessica Lussenhop
  • Michael Brown's family at a protest in Clayton last summer.

Updated with a response from Darren Wilson's attorney, Neil Bruntrager.

At a press conference this morning, attorneys for the family of slain teenager Michael Brown announced their intention to file a civil suit for wrongful death.

Attorney Daryl Parks announced that former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will definitely be named in the suit as the "perpetrator," as will the city of Ferguson itself.

"They do not accept the self-defense theory," said Parks. "The standard we have is totally different. Criminal standard is criminal standard. A civil standard is a different standard."

See also: Ferguson Police Tolerate Sexual Harassment of Female Officers: Justice Department Both Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. were present but did not speak. Attorney Anthony Gray told reporters that once the family members become litigants, their ability to speak to the media in general will be much more limited.

No specific time frame for the filing was given, but Parks said, "soon means soon."

Update: "I would never, ever challenge anyone's right to access to the courts," says Neil Bruntrager, one of the attorneys for Wilson. "I think the evidence is going to be the same there as we have in the state investigation and the federal investigation. People stay, 'Well, it's a different standard of proof.' Well, it's really not, it's a higher standard of proof than in a probable cause."

Bruntrager says while he expects that his client may be the first named party in the forthcoming civil suit, the real target will be the City of Ferguson since they have the "insurance and the deep pockets."

"They're going to have a real uphill climb," he says.

As we previously reported, Brown Sr. walked out of the U.S. Department of Justice briefing on Wednesday, when he was told that there would be no federal criminal charges against Wilson. His wife Cal told Daily RFT yesterday that they are still planning a trip to Selma, Alabama, for the 50th anniversary celebration of the voting-rights march.

"[Michael Sr.] had his mind set on leading the march in Selma in a couple days," she said. "We're trying to focus on the positive and just make sure that his death's not in vain and his legacy lives on. That's the best approach. Being angry and being hurt, just sitting and marinating, it's not really going to get you anywhere."

Email the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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