Suspect charged with shooting policemen in Ferguson to appear in court

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 03, 2015 6:16 AM

(Reuters) - A man accused of wounding two policemen during a protest rally in March outside the police headquarters in Ferguson, Missouri, will appear in court on Wednesday for an arraignment hearing, court records showed.

Jeffrey Williams faces first-degree felony assault charges and gun violations after a police officer was shot in the face and another in the shoulder on March 12 as they monitored the protest in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, authorities have said.

The shooting occurred at the end of the rally, which called for sweeping reforms in Ferguson, where unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot dead in August 2014 by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.

A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Wilson in November.

Brown's death touched off months of protests, in Ferguson and around the country, over the treatment of minority groups by law enforcement bodies and led to a U.S. Justice Department probe that found pervasive racial bias on the part of the city's mostly white police force.

Williams admitted to firing the shots that wounded the officers, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch has said.

McCulloch has said Williams was in a car when he fired a .40 caliber handgun, which was recovered in his residence and matched shell casings found at the scene.

Williams' attorney Jerryl Christmas has said his client has been wrongly accused and was beaten by police when he was taken into custody. Williams, who is being held on a $300,000 bond, could face life in prison if convicted on the assault charges.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Gareth Jones)