If the wrongful-death suit brought by Michael Brown’s family yesterday ever goes to trial, it may prove significant that the circumstances of Brown’s death would be weighed by a jury, says the Christian Science Monitor. It differs from the grand jury process that led to no charges against officer Darren Wilson, which has citizen jurors but was a behind-doors investigation that was influenced by prosecutors who, critics say, too rarely are willing to indict police officers. “We are hopeful that our presentation of the evidence through this case will highlight the facts that nobody has seen, the physical evidence that nobody has talked about, that has been overlooked – placed in a footnote in some reports,” said Anthony Gray an attorney for Brown’s family.
The civil lawsuit asserts that the circumstances surrounding Brown's death differed in major ways from the version of events given when County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch summarized the grand jury's decision. The suit casts Wilson as the aggressor, citing testimony that he used abusive language from the moment he began interacting with Brown and another young man who were walking down Ferguson's Canfield Drive last Aug. 9. For a civil trial, the burden of proof for the jury to weigh is lighter than in a criminal trial: preponderance of evidence, not the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal cases. Brown's parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., are the plaintiffs, and the defendants are the city, former Police Chief Thomas Jackson, and Wilson.