Around 2,000 people attended Macia’s funeral in his hometown Matola in southern Mozambique on Saturday.
Macia Mido, was filmed by bystanders being manhandled, handcuffed to the back of a police van and dragged hundreds of metres in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, on February 26.
The 27-year-old was found dead in his cell two hours later, having suffered severe head and internal injuries.
Lawyers were instructed “to represent them, to advise them and to institute civil proceedings against the minister of police for the unlawful death of Emidio Macia,” Sapa news agency quoted attorney Andrew Boernar as saying.
Prosecutors have charged nine policemen with the murder. All deny they were guilty and said Macia had violently resisted arrest after an argument about an illegally parked vehicle.
Their bail hearing will continue in the Benoni Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Days after Macia’s death, Nomvula Mokonyane, the premier of Gauteng province, which includes the city of Johannesburg, said his family had a right to sue.
“Every affected family that feels that their rights have been undermined by the state… have the right to take the state to the cleaners,” she said.
She added that the state would pay for his children’s education.