Several people filed a $40 million federal lawsuit against Ferguson police, St. Louis County Police and a slew of other defendants on Thursday, alleging that their civil rights were violated during police assaults and arrests that took place during the unrest that shook the St. Louis, Missouri, suburb after a white officer killed an unarmed black teenager.
According to news reports, the lawsuit, submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, claims that law enforcement responding to public dissent over the Aug. 9 killing of Michael Brown, 18, treated protesters as if they were war combatants.
The militaristic response to protests, which included tanks and tear gas, was met with even more protests. Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol was put in charge. The Missouri National Guard and law enforcement from surrounding areas descended on the city of about 21,000, as protests raged on West Florissant Avenue.
Each of the plaintiffs, including a 17-year-old, experienced police misconduct between Aug. 11 to 13, according to Reuters. The lawsuit was filed against Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, Ferguson police officer Justin Cosma, the city of Ferguson and St. Louis County. Several unnamed officers have also been sued.