Powerful: Coalition of black lawyers sues the pants off the city of Ferguson


Reported by Liku Zelleke

Filed by Black Lawyers for Justice from Washington D.C., the Law offices of Gregory Lattimer and Greene Legal Group LLC, the suit is seeking compensation for incidents that occurred during the recent unrest in Ferguson.

The suit, which was filed on August 28th in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, is asking for damages to the tune of $41.5 million for the five plaintiffs that are being represented by the group of lawyers.

The plaintiffs had taken part in the Ferguson protests and claim that they were arrested, beaten tear-gassed or shot with rubber bullets. According to the suit, they also claim that they were subjected to excessive force, false arrest, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery. They claim that the officers weren’t properly trained, supervised or disciplined.

The plaintiffs in the case have been reported to be Tracey White, both individually and as the next best friend of “W.D.”, a minor; Dwayne Anton Matthews, Jr.; Damon Coleman; Theophilus Green and Kerry White.

The full list of the lawsuit’s defendants include: Thomas Jackson, individually, and in his official capacity as City of Ferguson, Missouri Chief of Police; Jon Belmar, individually, and in his official capacity as St. Louis County, Missouri Chief of Police; Justin Cosma, individually, and in his official capacity as a City of Ferguson Police Officer; John Does, police officers of the City of Ferguson and St. Louis County Police Departments whose identities are unknown to the Plaintiffs at this time; St. Louis County, Missouri; City of Ferguson, Missouri.

The protests in Ferguson erupted in response to the shooting-death of Michael Brown, who was unarmed at the time of the fatal attack by a member of the Ferguson police department, Darren Wilson.

Financial Juneteenth lessons from this story:

1) Black attorneys are among the most important defenders of black civil rights. When black attorneys have been sucked away to big, white law firms, spending their lives doing otherwise meaningless work for the sake of making money, both the attorney and the community end up as losers. Attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, Willie Gary and others, are encouraging young lawyers to realize that you can make money and defend your community at the same time.

2) A great deal of important American progress is made in the court of law when suits are filed. Being angry, marching in the streets and complaining about a problem will only do so much. There is eventually a point where you have to file your lawsuit and make someone pay for the injustice they’ve caused. That’s what makes this action so powerful.


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