- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal trial was underway Tuesday in the wrongful-death lawsuit against Ferguson police over the 2011 stun-gun death of a naked, unarmed black man.

Jason Moore’s mother, wife and son allege in the lawsuit that the St. Louis suburb’s police force used excessive force and violated Moore’s civil rights. The suit was filed in the wake of 2014 fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was also black and unarmed, that thrust Ferguson into the spotlight over police treatment of minorities.

Moore, 31, was suffering from a psychological disorder when police confronted him as he ran naked down a street yelling “God is good” and “I am Jesus” at passing vehicles, according to the lawsuit. The suit alleges that Officer Brian Kaminski used excessive force by repeatedly using a stun gun on Moore, and it casts Ferguson police as frequently wrong in deploying stun guns on people with medical issues.

“The majority of (stun gun) cycles employed on Jason were for the express purpose of inflicting pain and punishment and without any legitimate police purpose,” the lawsuit alleges.

Defense attorneys said Moore was combative, swung his fists at the responding officer and didn’t comply with commands to put up his hands. A police report says the officer reported using a five-second burst from the stun gun on Moore, who fell but tried to get up. He said he deployed additional five-second bursts when Moore refused to stay on the ground.

When Moore became unresponsive, another officer began chest compressions until a medical crew arrived. Moore died at a hospital.

Kaminski is named as a defendant, as is the city, its former police chief and other local officials.

Moore’s family dropped some claims on Monday, including that officers failed to render medical aid at the scene, according to online court records. Court officials said testimony began Tuesday. The trial is expected to last about a week.

The lawsuit was filed 10 days after Brown was killed by white Ferguson officer Darren Wilson. That death and a grand jury’s subsequent clearing of Wilson, who later resigned, fueled sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and nearby areas and helped propel the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com


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