U.S.

$40M Lawsuit Filed In Ferguson, Focus On Lead Attorney

A "controversial" lawyer files a $40 million lawsuit on behalf of five people who say they were wrongfully detained by police during protests.

$40M Lawsuit Filed In Ferguson, Focus On Lead Attorney
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‚ÄčIn the wake of the Michael Brown protests this month, five people have stepped forward in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed against St. Louis County Police.

"Lawyers announced five people who they dubbed the Ferguson Five say police illegally detained them and violated their constitutional rights, often with "combative" force. They are seeking $40 million in damages. (Video via KCTV)

The plaintiffs' stories suggest they were caught in the unrest. WDAF explains:

"One woman says she and her 17-year-old son were roughed up and arrested because they didn't leave a McDonald's fast enough. Another man claims he was shot multiple times with rubber bullets while walking through the protest zone to his mother's house."

Several police officials including Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar have been named in the lawsuit.

According to CNN, the suit criticizes the police’s use of “military equipment” during the protests.  Washington caught wind of the claim and President Obama called for an investigation as well.

"We intend and we will hold Thomas Jackson and his police department fully accountable." (Video via KTVI)

That's lead attorney Malik Shabazz speaking to reporters after he filed the $40 million lawsuit in federal court.

While details of the lawsuit hit the press Thursday, overnight some local media turned their focus to Shabazz and his “controversial” history.

"Ten local pastors recently denounced Malik Shabazz because they believed he appeared to incite violence at the protests. They now say they have come to terms with the lawyer." (Video via KSDK)

REPORTER: "Last week, high-profile African-American clergy members told me they wanted Shabazz to leave St. Louis, telling me he was part of the problem."

CLERGY MEMBER: "I literally watched him cause chaos within a large group of people. … Then he'd shift and begins to say, 'Let's keep the peace.'" (Video via KMOV)

Shabazz is the founder and president of the group Black Lawyers for Justice based in Washington, D.C. The group recently postponed a class-action lawsuit seeking $200 million dollars in damages for Ferguson protestors.

The video contains images from Getty Images.