Federal Court Judge Issues Verdict on Ferguson Protestors' $41.5 Million Lawsuit

Chris Lee, St. Louis Post Dispatch
Chris Lee, St. Louis Post Dispatch

A federal judge has issued a verdict on the $41.5 million civil lawsuit filed by Ferguson protestors against law enforcement, in which they claim police officials ‘used excessive force’.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey released his 74-page ruling, stating protestors failed to provide any credible evidence to suggest the tacts used by police to contain protestors in the riots following Michael Brown’s death were unjust:

The record is clear that at the time of the events detailed herein, the atmosphere surrounding the arrests was extremely intense and had turned violent. Participants in what had turned from a peaceful assembly to unlawful assembly were advised to disperse but they failed to heed warnings that they be arrested for failing to leave the area as police tried to quell the unrest.

In his ruling, Judge Autrey noted protestors were asked to disperse multiple times before police began arresting people. The plaintiffs in the case had unsubstantiated claims that lacked video evidence or other testimony.

In addition, a number of the plaintiffs had contradictory stories and testimonies.

Tracey White claimed her and her 17-year-old son were arrested inside a McDonalds, where she was thrown to the ground and put in handcuffs.

Videos, however, proved she was arrested a block away from the McDonalds.

“She [White] agreed that video showed an officer placing hand ties on her, and that she was not on the ground, and that there was no knee in her back,” Autrey wrote. “No racial epithets or slurs were used against Tracey White.”

Dwayne Matthews, Jr., another plaintiff, claimed that he was walking to his mother’s house when police shot him with rubber-coated bullets, pepper sprayed and almost drowned in a ditch before detaining him.

According to the judge’s opinion, Matthews’ accounts to paramedics and hospital staff contradict his claim.

The plaintiffs plan on appealing the decision in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“It’s unfortunate that the Constitution has such a rough time in Missouri, but I think that the court of appeals will look at this and make a determination that … the judge’s refusal to allow these cases to go forward was not consistent with applicable law,” said Gregory Lattimer, one of the lawyers representing protesters.

What’s unfortunate is that these individuals were allowed to assault police officers, loot businesses and burn down their own neighborhood, but hey – this is where we’re at in the movie, kids.