ST. LOUIS – Five people filed a multi-million dollar federal lawsuit Thursday against the Ferguson and St. Louis County police departments.

The plaintiffs claim their rights were violated during protest marches in the weeks following the death of Michael Brown. A group called Black Lawyers for Justice, led by a man named Malik Shabazz and based in Washington D.C., filed the lawsuit at the Eagleton Federal Courthouse in downtown St. Louis.

According to the suit, police used excessive force, made false arrests, illegal search and seizures and violated their civil rights during protests in Ferguson.

The lawsuit seeks $40 million for the people.

Shabazz, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center calls a racist, black nationalist, was a familiar sight with his bullhorn at protests. Just last week, local pastors accused Shabazz of inciting violence.

Now the same group says they've come to an understanding with Shabazz; agreeing with his message, if not always his methods.

NewsChannel 5 reached out to both the St. Louis County and Ferguson police departments for comment. The county has yet to respond. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Ferguson Police Department said the lawsuit does not apply to them because the police force does not have any of the military equipment mentioned in the suit.

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