Appeals Court Reverses Lower Court – Allows Ferguson Rioters To Sue The Pants Off City And Cops
8th Circuit Rules In Favor Of Ferguson Rioters
St Louis, MO – An appeals court revived part of a lawsuit involving Ferguson rioters on Tuesday, August 1.
The initial lawsuit was filed on behalf of 10 people, and claimed that St. Louis police officers used excessive force in breaking up the Ferguson riots, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. U.S. Judge Henry Autrey had granted summary judgment to police, police officials, St. Louis County, and the city of Ferguson in October, 2016.
In his ruling, Judge Autrey said that police officers gave repeated warnings before making arrests, and that many of the claims did not have evidence backing them up, such as videos or testimony. He ruled that police actions had not been taken “in bad faith”.
But on Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Autrey’s ruling. They said that the claims of one individual, Dwayne A. Matthews, Jr., should be decided by a jury. Matthews claimed that he was held underwater, sprayed with pepper spray, and beaten by St. Louis County police officers.
The panel ruled that if Matthews’ claims were proven to be true, it would represent “unreasonable, excessive force”. In the previous ruling from Judge Autrey, he said that Matthews’ claims of injuries were contradicted by medical records.
The appeals court also ruled that the lawsuit against officials for their “alleged failure to properly train, supervise and discipline the officers involved in the Matthews incident” should also move forward.
The riots occurred after the October 9, 2014 shooting and death of Michael Brown by then Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Several days of out-of-control rioting and looting followed. A grand jury refused to indict Officer Wilson, and the Department of Justice cleared him in its investigation.