- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The city of Ferguson, Missouri, is appealing a federal jury’s $3 million award to the family of an unarmed, naked man who died in 2011 after being repeatedly shocked with an officer’s stun gun.

Attorneys for the St. Louis suburb and former officer Brian Kaminski called November’s verdict “a miscarriage of justice” and argue in recent court filings that the case warrants a new trial, given alleged errors by the trial judge and the lack of proof that Kaminski acted excessively against Jason Moore. Kaminski was never charged.

Attorneys for Moore’s family counter that the verdict should stand, accusing Kaminski of concocting a version of the confrontation to justify lethal use of force on the 31-year-old Moore.

The lawsuit by Moore’s mother, wife and son was filed in the wake of the 2014 Ferguson police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who also was black and unarmed - an incident that thrust Ferguson into the spotlight over police treatment of minorities.

A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson in Brown’s death, which along with Wilson’s exoneration led to sometimes-violent protests in Ferguson and helped propel the Black Lives Matter movement. The U.S. Department of Justice also cleared Wilson, concluding he acted in self-defense.

The Moore family’s lawsuit insisted Moore was suffering from a psychological disorder when police confronted him in September 2011 as he ran nude down a street yelling “God is good” and “I am Jesus” at passing vehicles. While labeling Kaminski’s actions unjustified, the lawsuit cast Ferguson police as frequently wrong in deploying stun guns on people with medical issues.

On appeal, Ferguson city attorneys called the verdict “improper, invalid and against the weight of the evidence,” insisting Kaminski’s actions were “reasonably necessary” and that Moore charged at the officer “while displaying erratic behavior.”

The defense also faults the trial judge for not ordering separate trials on the claims against Kaminski and those accusing Ferguson of allowing a supposed pattern of inappropriate, abusive use of stun guns by its police.

Attorneys for Moore’s family reject that Moore “charged” Kaminski and say Kaminski’s testimony was contradicted by another officer who responded.

“The evidence presented to the jury overwhelmingly demonstrated that Mr. Moore did not act aggressively, actively resist or pose a threat” as he repeatedly was shot with the stun gun, “ultimately to death,” the family’s court filings submit.

“Substantial evidence” also shows Ferguson’s police department “habitually turned a blind eye to use of force through its custom of failing to perform an adequate investigation and its failure to discipline officers who used excessive force,” the family’s filings added.

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