The residents are accusing Ferguson police of using excessive force in quelling the outbursts. As widely seen across the nation — and world — police responded to the protests with armored vehicles and tear gas. In their official complaint that was filed August 27th they said, “Defendants used wanton and excessive force, under color of law.”
They are seeking $1.5 million in damages each for false arrest, assault, emotional distress, and failure to properly supervise police. The group also seeks $1 million each for punitive damages on some of their claims.
Defendants include Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, Ferguson officer Justin Cosma, and other undisclosed officers.
Tracey White, one of the plaintiffs, is alleging that police arrested her and her son at a fast food restaurant on August 13th. White said she was there attending a peace rally and officers reportedly arrested her for failure to heed orders to immediately leave the space. Both were held for five hours prior to being released, they claim.
Dewayne Matthews, another plaintiff, alleges that officers shot him with rubber bullets ad assaulted and maced him in the same day. He was heading to his mother’s house at the time and was not involved in the protests, he claims. The complaint also said he wasn’t charged with a crime.
Other plaintiffs were accused of failure to disperse after filming the protests on August 11th, per the complaint. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles didn’t immediately respond to phone messages by Bloomberg.com seeking comment on the pending cases.