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Lawsuit filed on behalf of arrested protesters in Ferguson, Mo.

A lawsuit filed over the police treatment of protesters in Ferguson, Mo., seeks $41.5 million in damages on behalf of five people who were arrested.
By Frances Burns   |   Aug. 28, 2014 at 6:50 PM  |  Updated Aug. 29, 2014 at 8:18 AM   |   Comments

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ST. LOUIS, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Police were "out of control" in their response to demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., a lawyer said Thursday as he sued the city and St. Louis County.

Malik Z. Shabazz, the president of Black Lawyers for Justice, based in Washington, filed the federal lawsuit seeking $41.5 million on behalf of five protesters arrested between Aug. 10 and Aug. 13. He said he expects more plaintiffs to come forward.

Shabazz called the response to the demonstrations "virtually a police riot."

"Police were out of control," he said, adding that "excessive force" was used frequently.

The death of Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed black teenager shot by a white police officer set off large protests. Police responded with a show of force, including military vehicles and weapons.

Thousands of people attended Brown's funeral Monday.

Tracey White, one of the plaintiffs, said she and her son were arrested at a McDonald's in Ferguson on Aug. 13 as they waited for her husband. She said officers with rifles stormed the restaurant.

"It looked like something out of a movie. It was so horrifying," she said.

White said she and her son were arrested for "failure to disperse" and released a few hours later. She said police knocked her down when they detained her.

The city and county police chiefs are also named as defendants along with police officers.

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