Michael Brown's family fights Ferguson push for his records

AP News
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Posted: Dec 31, 2016 10:45 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Michael Brown's parents are objecting to a request from Ferguson for their son's medical and academic records as the city defends itself against a lawsuit the parents filed over the 2014 police shooting death of the unarmed 18-year-old.

Michael Brown Sr. and Lezley McSpadden, in December court filings, asked U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber in St. Louis to at least limit if not scuttle altogether a push by the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, its former police chief and the officer who shot their son to turn over the documents. The parents say the documents are irrelevant and that the repeated demands for them are harassing and invasive.

Brown's parents argue in their lawsuit that the death of their son during an August 2014 confrontation with Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson deprived them of financial support through his future potential wages. An attorney for Ferguson, Wilson and the former police chief have countered in court filings that Brown's lifelong medical records are pertinent to determining his potential life expectancy and future income.

In her 2016 book, "Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil," McSpadden acknowledged that her son had high blood pressure, headaches, impaired vision and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In court filings rebuffing the push for all of her son's medical records, Brown's parents said his afflictions "have no bearing on a person's life expectancy."

"Although (the lawsuit's defendants) are admittedly entitled to some discovery regarding (Brown's) physical health, any and all medical records spanning his entire lifetime is overly broad in scope and time and vague," the family's filing read.

Brown's parents insist the academic records are shielded as private because they involve a juvenile.

Peter Dunne, an attorney for the defendants, wrote in a recent court filing that while the lawsuit's two sides "have resolved the majority of the disputes" involving the legal action's sharing of documents and potential evidence, "the parties have agreed there remain disputes over which no further compromise can be made," requiring Webber to sort it out.

A local grand jury declined to indict Wilson, who is white, in the death of Brown, who was black. The shooting and the grand jury's decision led to sometimes-violent protests in Ferguson and helped propel the Black Lives Matter movement, which criticizes police treatment of minorities. The U.S. Department of Justice also cleared Wilson, concluding he acted in self-defense.