Ferguson shooter confessed under pressure: Lawyer

Ferguson shooter confessed under pressure: Lawyer

HomeUSHuman Rights Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:51AM

The African American accused of shooting two police officers at a protest in Ferguson, Missouri, has recanted his confession, citing pressure he was under at the time of the arrest, his lawyer says.

“He told me that he never fired a weapon,” Jerryl T. Christmas, attorney for Jeffrey Williams, told Yahoo News on Tuesday adding the 20-year-old was in a “tremendous amount of pain” due to being pistol-whipped before questioning.

“I think under those circumstances he would have said anything,” the lawyer noted. “Anytime someone is questioned without counsel and then I see that kind of bruising, then I’m suspicious about any statements that he may have voluntarily given.”

He referred to the jail mug shot of his client as proof that he sustained injuries at the time.

“He had bruising … you see the redness on the right side of his face? I don’t see how they are denying it, it’s right there on their own mug shot.”

A St. Louis County police department spokesman rejected the abuse allegations as “completely false”.

Sergeant Brian Schellman, however, failed to provide an explanation for the marks in Williams’ booking photograph.

He claimed the suspect had been immediately transported to police headquarters and questioned by detectives. He added that the process had been recorded on video and audio.

Later, Williams was evaluated by a nurse as part of the intake process at the jail, he further claimed.

“The nurse released Williams as fit for confinement and he was subsequently turned over by detectives to the custody of Justice Services,” Schellman said.

The suspect’s cousin, Terrain Williams, said Jeffrey was “not doing OK” and has been in the jail’s infirmary since his arrival on Sunday.

“He has a knot on the back of his head where he says they hit him with the butt of a pistol,” Christmas said. “He doesn’t deserve that.”

Schellman did not disclose how many cops were engaged in the detention, saying, “Mr. Williams did not resist arrest.”

The officers were shot early Thursday following a late-night demonstration outside the Ferguson Police Department in the St. Louis town, which has been in the global spotlight since white policeman Darren Wilson shot dead unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August last year.

The shooting happened days after the Justice Department issued a scathing report on the Ferguson Police Department, highlighting the city’s “broken and racially biased” police system.

Protests were triggered across the US by a grand jury decision not to indict police officer Wilson in the fatal shooting of Brown in Ferguson.

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