The family of Michael Brown – the unarmed black teen who was killed last August by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri – is filing a civil suit against the city for wrongful death.
Brown was killed during a confrontation with former officer Darren Wilson, who claimed he opened fire on the 18-year-old in self defense. Brown’s death sparked local and nationwide protests against police brutality and racial profiling.
In November, a grand jury chose not to indict Wilson in Brown’s death, prompting even more widespread activism and some acts of violence in the local community. An independent federal investigation also cleared Wilson of any wrongdoing in March 2015.
On Thursday, members of Brown’s family will formally announce their civil suit in front of the county courthouse in St. Louis. The suit has been expected for months but gained renewed attention when the Department of Justice released a scathing report exposing widespread racial disparities within the Ferguson Police Department.
The DOJ’s findings – which included racist emails exchanged among Ferguson police – led to immense public pressure for resignations and reform. Embattled Police Chief Tom Jackson was the most prominent head to roll, stepping down from his post in March.
“There’s obviously a rampant, wholesale, systemic problem in that department,” Brown family attorney Daryl Parks said that month.
The family’s announcement is expected to come at 10:30 a.m. CST.