Ferguson shooting suspect appears in court for the first time

Jeffrey Williams did not enter a plea on Monday

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The Independent US

The man accused of shooting two police officers last week in Ferguson, Missouri made his first appearance in court on Monday, though it was brief and the man did not enter a plea, Reuters reported.

Jeffrey Williams, 20, has admitted to firing the shots that hit two police officers toward the end of an otherwise- peaceful protest in the St. Louis suburb, but Mr Williams said he was aiming at someone with whom he had a quarrel, not the officers.

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.

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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