2016 trial set for Brown family's suit against Ferguson


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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal wrongful-death lawsuit brought by Michael Brown's parents over his fatal shooting by a Ferguson police officer won't go to trial for at least another year.

U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber in St. Louis has scheduled an October 2016 trial in the case of Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden against the city of Ferguson, its former police chief and the white ex-officer, Darren Wilson, who killed the 18-year-old Brown, online court records show.

Brown's August 2014 death during a confrontation with Wilson led to sometimes-violent protests in Ferguson and other U.S. cities, spawning a national "Black Lives Matter" movement that seeks changes in how police deal with minorities.

Those protests were rekindled with last November's announcement that a St. Louis County grand jury opted against indicting Wilson in Brown's death, setting off a night of looting and arson fires in and near Ferguson. The U.S. Department of Justice also later cleared Wilson, who resigned.

An attorney for Ferguson and the other defendants has asked for the lawsuit to be thrown out.

In July, Webber narrowed the Brown family's lawsuit by dismissing four of the seven counts, telling lawyers for Brown's parents that they must make a more persuasive claim for damages on behalf of their late son. Webber said the four counts he threw out included two "redundant" ones against Wilson and former Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who were sued individually and as representatives of the city.

Messages left Tuesday with attorneys for the Brown family and for the respondents were not immediately returned.

Dorian Johnson, a friend who was with Michael Brown when Brown was shot and killed, also is suing the city, Wilson and Jackson in federal court, alleging Wilson initiated the confrontation that ended in Brown's death. Johnson argues that Wilson used excessive force, "acted with deliberate indifference or reckless disregard" for Johnson's rights, and never directed a fleeing Johnson and Brown to "stop" or "freeze" before firing at Brown.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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