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City Of Ferguson Demands School, Medical Records Of Slain Teen

By J.A. Salaam -Staff Writer- | Last updated: Jan 11, 2017 - 10:01:14 AM

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Michael Brown Jr.
Clayton, MO.—A judge decided that the parents of Mike Brown Jr. must release the slain teen’s school records and certain medical records in a Jan. 4 ruling. Mike Brown Jr.’s mother Lezley McSpadden and father Mike Brown Sr.  filed a request Dec. 22 to St. Louis, U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber to stop the push by the City of Ferguson in its demand that they release their son’s medical and academic school records as well as other private and personal information while pursuing a wrongful death claim. 

Two years after the death of Michael Brown Jr. his parents are still seeking closure and justice for their son. In an attempt to get restitution for the teen’s death they filed a wrongful death lawsuit in April 2015 against the City of Ferguson, it’s former Police Chief Thomas Jackson and Darren Wilson the former Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Brown. His death touched off days of civil unrest and became a flashpoint in the long, history of police misconduct, abuse and injustice in Black communities in the U.S.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed is for violation of Brown’s civil rights and to collect punitive damages for the loss of their son and potential financial support their son could have contributed had he lived a full life which would be speculative.  

The City of Ferguson filed a counter suit claiming that Wilson was justified in killing Brown and acted out of self-defense. The demand for Brown’s medical and school records by the city is to allegedly prove that Brown’s life had a pattern of failure and that he would not have had a long life even before his tragic death at age 18. 

In 2014 the Ferguson Police department justified Wilson’s action and attempted to criminalize Brown after a video was shown of what appeared to be Mike Brown Jr. strong arming a convenience store owner and allegedly taking items in Ferguson earlier in the day before he was killed on Aug. 9. Thirteen days after Brown’s death, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch filed a petition asking a judge in St. Louis County Family Court to open any juvenile records on the young man. The petition was immediately refuted by Brown’s family insisting that his background and early childhood had no bearing on the fact he was gunned down.

Michael Brown Sr. And Lezley McSpadden parents of Michael Brown
According to files pulled from juvenile courts Mike Brown Jr. had no criminal charges or record at the time of his death. Cynthia Harcourt, attorney for the St. Louis County Juvenile Office noted that some juvenile records and proceedings are open to the public: those that concern crimes that would be Class A or B felonies if a juvenile had been charged as an adult. But there were none for Brown.

One of the attorneys for Brown’s family, Anthony Grey, could not offer any comments about the wrongful death case because of the gag order issued on the family’s legal team by Judge Webber. The family says the constant request for more and more documents are irrelevant to their current lawsuit against the city and feel the repeat demands are harassing and invasive.

According to court documents there were numerous requests for personal information including:

• A list and description of any and all funeral expenses incurred by the family, whether or not those bills were paid, and if so, by whom.

• Receipts, tax records, medical records and doctor visits by Mike Brown Jr, all receipts and invoices from sales of merchandise, memorabilia featuring Mike Brown’s name, or any public or private appearances and compensation where the incident in question were discussed.

• Social media records and accounts including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Vine, Snapchat, You Tube, SoundCloud, blog sites, podcasts, etc. of Ms. McSpadden and her son.

All cell phones and corresponding carriers they had from August 9, 2014, to the present.

Documents filed on behalf of Ms. McSpadden on Dec. 22 objected to these requests deeming them irrelevant, not reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence, beyond scope of discovery, vague, ambiguous, unduly burdensome and interferes with her right to privacy. 

“The parents’ loss a child...that’s the real issue” said Attorney Gray.