AFRICANGLOBE – A lawyer for Jeffrey Williams, the 20-year-old man who was arrested and charged with shooting and wounding two police officers last Thursday outside the Ferguson police department now says he doubts his client was the gunman who fired at the officers.
Earlier reports attributed to St. Louis authorities, including prosecutor Robert McCulloch, who threw the case against officer Darren Wilson, who killed Michael Brown last year, claimed Williams had confessed. McCulloch also claimed Williams, who reportedly fired from inside a car said he wasn’t aiming at the officers but at someone he’d had an argument with.
Jerryl Christmas, Williams’ lawyer, says he has “little confidence” in the statements about the confession, adding: “One thing that is clear is that he has a large amount of bruising on his body that I noticed that I’m very concerned about. It appears that whatever statements he made, he was without the advice of counsel, and when I look at the bruising, it’s hard for me assess if these were voluntary statements that he made.”
Christmas told CNN that Williams has bruising across his back, and a knot on his head. He told CNN, referring to Williams: “He said he was bruised by the police when he was taken into custody. And he was in a lot of pain when he was being questioned,” and that “They used a lot of force on him.” A spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department denied the allegations that Williams was beaten and said after he was interrogated he was taken to hospital and a nurse subsequently released him as “fit for confinement.”
The nurse’s statement would not necessarily mean Williams wasn’t beaten of course.
Williams has been charged with two counts of first-degree assault, one count of firing a weapon from a vehicle and three counts of armed criminal activity. Three of the charges carry life sentences.
The St. Louis authorities also claim Williams had been part of the demonstrators outside the police department last Thursday. Many were there to celebrate the resignation of Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson, under whose regime revenue from fines and fees levied against Ferguson’s Black citizens soared by 30% within a three year period.
The Department of Justice’s report on the Ferguson Police Department (FPD), released March 4, exposed the massive corruption — essentially showing how the Ferguson government and the police operated what amounts to a criminal enterprise against its Black citizens.
Under the command of Ferguson’s government, police chief Jackson presided over aggressive policing, escalating phony ticketing of African Americans for alleged violations ranging from parking violations, driving infractions, housing code violations, and even infractions while walking.
Some citizens were ticketed as many as four times for the same offenses.
The authorities ran this criminal enterprise to siphon revenue from African Americans to operate government, including paying for their salaries.
Ferguson was operated like a modern-day plantation. The political and operational setup made it easier. There was only one Black citizen on the six-person City Council and only three officers on the 53-member police force that enforced the illegal activities coordinated with the city government.
These patently unlawful and unconstitutional activities cannot be protected. Criminal prosecutions must follow, in addition to civil action to recover monies for the Black citizens of Ferguson.
The evidence is there, in the form of e-mail messages exchanged between Ferguson officials and police chief Jackson. The police chief resigns with a year’s salary and health benefits; he must face charges for his role in the wrongful actions against Ferguson’s Black citizens.
Many African Americans were jailed when they couldn’t pay the fines; some lost jobs as a result of the arrests on bogus charges.
The African American citizens of Ferguson must be seething and the sooner there’s an overhaul of the government and police department the better. The token resignations are mere window dressing.
Claims coming from St. Louis and Ferguson authorities must be carefully verified.
The kind of mayhem that would follow, if the shooting suspect Williams ends up mysteriously dead is predictable. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) must closely monitor his welfare and the investigation and prosecution in order to address the questions raised by the lawyer, Christmas.