Ferguson shooting's witness accused of resisting arrest

AP News
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Posted: May 07, 2015 6:21 PM
Ferguson shooting's witness accused of resisting arrest

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A man who was with Michael Brown when Brown was fatally shot by a Ferguson police officer last summer was charged Thursday with misdemeanor resisting arrest during a new confrontation with police.

St. Louis city prosecutors charged Dorian Johnson, 23, with resisting arrest or interfering with a lawful stop or detention, one day after St. Louis police arrested him with two other people, including his younger brother, Demonte Johnson. The criminal complaint alleges Johnson tried to hinder his brother's arrest "by using or threatening the use of violence, physical force or physical interference."

Each brother's bond was set Thursday at $1,000 cash-only. It was not immediately clear whether they had posted bond.

Dorian Johnson was a prominent witness of the shooting death in August of Brown, a black, unarmed 18-year-old who was killed by white Ferguson officer Darren Wilson during a confrontation in a street. Brown's death led to at times violent protests in Ferguson and other U.S. cities, spawning a national "Black Lives Matter" movement seeking changes in how police deal with minorities.

A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Justice Department declined to charge Wilson, who later resigned. But the Justice Department later released a scathing report that cited racial bias and racial profiling in Ferguson policing and in a profit-driven municipal court system that frequently targeted blacks.

Dorian Johnson's arrest came exactly a week after he sued Ferguson, Wilson and the city's former police chief.

One of Johnson's attorneys, James Williams, declined to comment on Thursday's charge, saying he didn't yet have any details.

In a probable-cause statement attached to Thursday's criminal complaint, a law enforcer, identified only as "E.B.," wrote police encountered Johnson while fielding a report of a possible disturbance involving a group possibly armed with guns or knives.

E.B. wrote that he noticed a person identified only as "O.M." with a bulging waistband that he suspected might be a concealed gun and moved in to investigate. The officer wrote that Demonte Johnson then grabbed him by an arm and told him to release the man, saying that the officer "was not going to take O.M. to jail."

As another officer grabbed Demonte Johnson to pull him away, Dorian Johnson "ran toward" that officer and demanded that his brother be released, the probable-cause statement read.

"Dorian Johnson further stated that the police could not arrest any of them," the affidavit continued, adding that Dorian Johnson "then struggled with me and tried to pry himself away from me."

"I had to physically struggle with Dorian Johnson until I was able take him to the ground and get handcuffs on him," the affidavit read.

Demonte Johnson, 21, was charged Thursday with resisting arrest and with a misdemeanor account of assault on a law enforcement officer, according to online court records. The records did not say whether he had an attorney who could comment on the charges.