A federal lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that police in Ferguson and St. Louis County used excessive force and falsely arrested innocent bystanders amid attempts to quell widespread unrest after the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, says the Associated Press. The five plaintiffs include a clinical social worker who said she and her 17-year-old son were roughed up and arrested after not evacuating a McDonald’s quickly enough. They also include a 23-year-old man who said he was shot multiple times with rubber bullets and called racial slurs by police, and a man who said he was arrested for filming the disturbances.
The lawsuit seeks $40 million in damages and names Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, Ferguson officer Justin Cosma, several unnamed officers identified collectively as John Doe, and the city and county governments. Attorney Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Justice called the Ferguson scene “virtually a police riot.”