Saint Louis County Police today announced the arrest of 20 year old Jeffrey Williams in the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, MO Thursday night. Williams, who is on probation for receiving stolen property, was charged with numerous felonies. He was found with a gun which the police say was used in the shooting.
The shooting occurred during one of the many protests that, inexplicably, continue even after the protesters demands have been met. The Chief of Police has resigned and several officers and one civilian employee were fired after sending racist emails. A grand jury and the Department of Justice have investigated. The police department has been castigated. Mea culpa, mea culpa. Everyone has said everything that can possibly be said. Yet, the protests continue. Go figure.
Back to Jeffrey Williams. As noted above, it has been reported that Williams was found with the gun used in the shooting. However, it is unlikely, if a gun was found on or near Williams, that the gun has already been taken to a firearms examiner and conclusively determined to be the gun used in the shooting. More likely, at best, Williams was found with a gun of the same caliber as the weapon used in the shooting.
Notwithstanding that the gun has not been tested, Williams knows that the gun recovered from him is the one used in the shooting. So, he admits, as he must, to firing the shots that struck the police officer. However, he says the officers were struck by mistake. He contends that he was firing at a robber. There are several large holes in this story.
First, does anyone show up at a protest in a vehicle? Perhaps, he thought he was going to a motorcade, rather than a protest. On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the National Mall attracted a half-million people. Not one of those half-million people were in vehicles. People do not protest in vehicles. To do so, would turn the protest into a traffic jam. Unless there was an antique car show in town, this part of Williams’ story does not make sense.
Second, with scores if not hundreds of protesters on the street, why would any putative thief target the guy in the car who could leave his window rolled up and speed away?
Third, the same protesters who are potential victims of a thief also serve as witnesses to the crime. A crowd is a good place for a pickpocket to work. Otherwise, it is not a good place for thievery.
Fourth, Williams claims his shots missed the robber who presumably was in close proximity, but hit the police officers who were some distance away.
Fifth, if Williams was truly acting in self-defense, why did he not turn himself in to the police? I predict that Williams will say that he was fearful of the Ferguson police, but why could he not have taken witnesses with him when he surrendered? Wanted persons do that all of the time. For good measure, the press could have been summoned. The police would have been on their best behavior.
Finally, no one saw Williams protesting, ever. A number of regular protesters have been interviewed, and none of them ever saw Williams.
Unless there is something I don’t know about, the case against Williams seems strong. He admits firing the shots and his defense is bogus. If the case goes to trial, look for the defense to put the Ferguson police on trial and attempt jury nullification.