Man accused of shooting faces charges
By Anthony Plescia
On March 11, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson announced his resignation; days after the U.S. Department of Justice released a report showing widespread racial bias within the Ferguson Police Department. Protests against police brutality and racism have remained in Ferguson since the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year old Michael Brown and a grand jury’s decision to not indict Brown’s shooter, Officer Darren Wilson. Jackson’s resignation increased tensions once again, which led to a combination of celebrations and protests outside the city’s police station.
In the early hours of March 12, two officers were shot and wounded. One was hit in the right shoulder while another was hit in the cheek. However, the injuries were not life threatening. The suspected shooter, 20-year-old Jeffrey Williams, was arrested on the evening of March 14. His actions drew immediate disapproval, especially from President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Michael Brown’s family.
“It (the shooting) shouldn’t happen,” said Schoolcraft student Johnathon Shipman.
Some also acknowledge police brutality is still an issue in this country.
“I was surprised to hear of another reckless shooting. Problems with officers misusing their power or authority is a constant problem,” said Schoolcraft student Wade Goode.
Williams is being charged with first-degree assault, armed criminal action, and firing a gun from inside a car. However, the crimes Williams is accused of committing are disputed.
“This wasn’t any type of ambush shooting,” Derryl Christmas, the lawyer representing Jeffrey Williams, said to the Associated Press. “Those officers were shot accidently.”
Christmas went on to say Williams was concerned about the wounded officers. He also alleges his client was beaten by the police following the arrest, but St. Louis County police countered this allegation by pointing out Williams was not injured. Bishop Derrick Robinson of Kingdom Destiny Fellowship says he visited Williams in jail, where Williams confessed to shooting into the air after being robbed in a protest zone.
Robinson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “He (Williams) told me that he shouldn’t have done it. He was embarrassed; he showed deep remorse; he wishes he could retract things.”
St. Louis County Police Sgt. Brian Schellman confirmed Robinson’s statement by acknowledging that Williams told police he fired shots. Prosecutor Bob McCulloch admitted it was possible Williams did in fact target the officers, but it was also possible Williams shot at someone else and hit the officers by accident.
A firm motive behind the shooting of the officers has yet to be established. McCulloch reminded the public the investigation needs to develop further and more arrests are possible. Additionally, Officer Wilson was recently cleared of violating Michael Brown’s civil rights by the Department of Justice.