With all the misconduct caught on video alone, it was only a matter of time before Ferguson protesters would decide they have had enough of the disgusting violations of their civil rights. Five demonstrators are suing the Ferguson Police Department and other officials overseeing the protests that resulted from the shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown.
The lawsuit lists Police Chief Thomas Jackson, St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar, Ferguson officer Justin Cosma, several other officers, and the city and county governments as defendants.
The suit alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent supervision, and assault and battery.’
According to CNN:
— Tracey White was about to buy an ice cream sundae at McDonald’s when officers “in what appeared to be army uniforms, carrying rifles and sticks and wearing helmets” entered and ordered her to leave, according to the lawsuit. She was told to shut up, thrown to the ground and handcuffed after criticizing officers for the way they were treating her son, the lawsuit claims.
— Dewayne Matthews was walking to his mother’s house when a group of officers in military uniforms shot rubber bullets at him, the lawsuit alleges. He fell into a creek or sewer, the suit says, where officers “pounced on him, slammed his face into the concrete, and pushed his head into the water to the point that he felt he was going to be drowned.”
— Kerry White was shooting footage and holding his camera out his car window when an officer snatched his camera, “took out his memory card and threw it to the ground,” the lawsuit says.
— Damon Coleman and Theophilus Green were peacefully protesting, the lawsuit says, when police in riot gear fired tear gas and what appeared to be stun grenades in their direction, then “hurled racial epithets at them, while punching and kicking them the entire time.”
Matthews, who wears his hair in dreadlocks, said at a Tuesday press conference that he was called a “coon”, “mophead”, and other slurs.
Police abuse has been widespread in Ferguson. Lieutenant Ray Albers, or “Officer Go F*ck Yourself,” resigned on Thursday amid controversy surrounding his pointing a gun at African-American protesters and media with a declaration that he would “f*cking” kill them.
Police have been caught firing tear gas at members of the media on multiple occasions, intentionally lobbing canisters at protesters standing in their own yards, and acting with such disregard for human decency that Palestinians began tweeting helpful hints. Even Amnesty International observers were forcibly removed from the protests.
Cosma, one of the defendants, is facing another civil rights suit because he allegedly threw a young African-American boy to the ground and “hog-tied” him.
Police in the area have a history of abuse. In 2009, Ferguson officers arrested and beat the wrong “suspect,” then charged him for getting blood on their uniforms as they were brutalizing him.