Lawyers for Michael Brown‘s family announced Thursday they will file a civil suit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, and police officer Darren Wilson, who was cleared of any wrongdoing Wednesday by the Justice Department.
“We believe that there were other alternatives available to [Wilson],” said attorney Daryl Parks Thursday at a press conference attended by Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. “He did not have to kill Michael Brown.”
The Justice Department has formally closed the investigation it conducted after a grand jury declined to indict Wilson in November. The 86-page report, released Wednesday, stated, “Wilson fired at Brown in what appeared to be self-defense and stopped firing once Brown fell to the ground.”
On Aug. 9 Wilson encountered Brown, who was a suspect in a convenience store theft, according to reports. After a two-minute tussle, Brown was shot and killed. The aftermath made national headlines when countless protests erupted in the days and weeks following the shooting.
In a press conference Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he agreed with the Justice Department’s decision.
“Michael Brown’s death, though a tragedy, did not involve prosecutable conduct on the part of Officer Wilson,” Holder explained. “The facts do not support the filing of criminal charges.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division released a separate 105-page report that stated there was a history of racist behavior in the Ferguson Police Department and city.
“We received disappointing news from the Department of Justice that the killer of our son wouldn’t be held accountable for his actions. While we are saddened by this decision, we are encouraged that the DOJ will hold the Ferguson Police Department accountable for the pattern of racial bias and profiling they found in their handling of interactions with people of color,” Brown’s parents said in a written statement.
“It is our hope that through this action, true change will come not only in Ferguson but around the country. If that change happens, our son’s death will not have been in vain.”