US man accused in Ferguson police shooting denied lower bond
Mar. 31, 2015
CLAYTON, Missouri (AP) — A judge on Tuesday refused to reduce the bond of a 20-year-old man accused of shooting and wounding two police officers during a protest in Ferguson, despite an attorney's insistence that the man was beaten by police into wrongly confessing.
The shooting occurred during a protest sparked by the resignation of Ferguson's police chief. Both officers, who are expected to recover, were monitoring protests outside the city's police station, which has been a nexus of unrest since a white Ferguson officer fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, last summer.
Ferguson has been a focal point for Americans ever since. A grand jury declined to indict the officer who shot Brown in November, and he was cleared of civil rights charges by a U.S. Justice Department report released March 4. A separate report found widespread racial bias in the city's policing and its municipal court system.
On Tuesday, Jeffrey Williams, shackled at the wrists and ankles, said nothing during a 10-minute hearing in which his attorney, Jerryl Christmas, failed to sway a St. Louis County judge to cut Williams' $300,000 cash bond to one that would require him to pay only $10,000.
Christmas argued that the jobless Williams has no history of violence, has a girlfriend who is eight months pregnant and deserved a bond akin to cases where the shooting victims survive. He suggested that a $300,000 bond was more traditional in homicide cases.
But prosecutor Bart Calhoun countered that Williams — charged with felony assault, armed criminal action and a weapons offense — poses a public risk if freed. Calhoun said the gunfire early March 12 was "a drive-by shooting that put a great number of citizens at risk."
Calhoun noted that when Williams was arrested for the shooting, he was being sought on a warrant alleging he violated probation terms related to his use of a stolen credit card.
Prosecutors allege that Williams told investigators he fired a gun but was aiming at someone else. Christmas said his client has recanted that story, told him he never shot a weapon that day and only confessed after being roughed up by police.