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Michael Brown's parents to file wrongful death lawsuit against Ferguson

The parents of slain Michael Brown have said they will sue the city of Ferguson. The announcement follows a US Justice Department acquittal of the white cop who killed Brown and an investigation into the city's police.

Lesley McSpadden Michael Brown Senior

Michael's parents: Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Senior

The parents of Michael Brown will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, their lawyers announced at a press conference on Thursday.

Attorney Daryl Parks said former Officer Darren Wilson would also be named in the suit.

The announcement came after the US Justice Department cleared Officer Wilson from charges of federal civil rights violations for the August 9 shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Wilson not prosecuted

"Because Wilson did not act with the requisite criminal intent, it cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt to a jury that he violated (Brown's civil rights) when he fired his weapon at Brown," it said, adding "for the reasons set forth above, this matter lacks prosecutive merit and should be closed." Such a decision had been expected as a federal civil rights prosecution requires a high legal standard.

Earlier in the week, the Justice Department also released a report on an investigation that had found "sweeping patterns of discrimination" within the Ferguson police department, municipal jail and court. The report said that police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson demonstrated a pattern of racial bias in arrests and write-ups and disproportionately used excessive force against the black community.

Sweeping patterns of discrimination

Other findings showed that black drivers are stopped and searched far more often than white motorists, even though they're less likely to be carrying contraband.

The Justice Department also found that black defendants were 68 percent less likely than defendants to have their cases dismissed by a municipal court judge.

The killing of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black resident of Ferguson, by Wilson, a white police officer, sparked weeks of protests which at times escalated into rioting. The nationwide outrage centered on the use of force by law enforcement and the state of race relations in the United States.

sb/sms (Reuters, AP)

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