Civil Suit Still Pending Against Officers In Malone Case - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Civil Suit Still Pending Against Officers In Malone Case

The criminal side of the Marcus Malone case is over, but legal troubles loom for the officers who were accused of killing Malone.

They, along with the police chief and the former Moss Point mayor, face a $100 million federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Malone's family.

Steve Strickler was acquitted of manslaughter charges last week, and Jackson County District Attorney Keith Miller dropped the same charges against two other officers on Monday.

The federal lawsuit filed by Marcus Malone's family accuses officers Steve Strickler, Chris Weeks and Derrick Welton of being improperly trained. The suit also claims the officers' actions on the night of Sept. 13, 1999, caused Malone's death.

The jury hearing the civil case will get to consider all the evidence from Strickler's manslaughter trial, as well as evidence that the criminal jury may not have heard.

"There will be a more complete picture that's laid out for the jury, and then the jury can look at all of it and decide where the liability is," said Earl Denham, attorney for the Malone family.

Denham said the burden of proof is not as great in the civil case, and that's why Strickler's acquittal won't have any impact.

"In our case, it is anticipated the officers will either testify or they will take the 5th Amendment," Denham said. "In a civil case, if these officers do take the 5th for any reason, there's a presumption that attaches to that would favor the plaintiff side of the case."

Denham doesn't know when his case will go to trial. He says the FBI is continuing its own investigation into Malone's death without sharing information with him or the Malone family.

"So what the family wants to see and what I want to see is for the federal officials investigating this case to either do something or close the investigation and let us get about our business."

Denham says he hopes that happens soon so that Marcus Malone's family can finally get the justice they've waited for three years.

WLOX placed calls to the FBI to ask about the status of its investigation into Marcus Malone's death. No one returned our call.

By Marcia Hill

Online Producer Glenn Cummins

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