The man in police custody that has been charged with shooting two Ferguson, Missouri police officers is not the man who pulled the trigger, according to the attorney representing the suspect.
Jeffrey Williams was arrested over the weekend and allegedly told police that he fired the shots last week that put two officers in the hospital. Mr Williams said, however, that he was aiming at people with whom he had a quarrel and not at the officers.
The New York Times reported that Jerryl Christmas, the lawyer representing Mr Williams, said he thinks police have charged the wrong person in the shooting. Mr Christmas did not comment on why his client would admit to pulling the trigger if he was not responsible.
“I don’t think they have the right person in custody,” Mr. Christmas said, according to the Times. “I don’t think he shot anybody.”
Mr Williams has been charged with first-degree assault and his bond has been set at $300,000. During his brief court appearance on Monday in front of Judge Joseph Dueker in St. Louis County Circuit Court, he did not give any statements.
Authorities had previously said they believe the shooting of the officers was a planned ambush. One officer was shot in the face, just below his right eye, and the bullet lodged behind his ear. The other office was shot in the shoulder. Both were treated and have been released from the hospital.
Prosecutors have cast doubt on Mr Williams’ claim that he was shooting at people with whom he had quarrelled, saying they are not sure there was a dispute.
Ferguson has reheated as a hotbed of unrest after the US Justice Department earlier this month released a report that found systematic bias in the city’s police department and courts. Authorities reportedly targeted blacks for traffic stops and other tickets to generate revenue.
The Missouri city needed little kindling, as it was already in turmoil after the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager last summer at the hands of a white police officer. That incident set off sometimes-violent protests across the US that intensified when the police officer was not indicted by a grand jury for killing the teenager, Michael Brown.
The Justice Department report renewed tensions and led to the firing and resignation of at least six city officials, including the police chief and the city manager. There has been talk of dissolving the Ferguson police force in response to the report.
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