This file photo provided by the St. Louis County Police Department on Sunday, March 15, 2015 shows Jeffrey Williams. A St. Louis County grand jury indicted Williams on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, on two counts of first-degree assault, three counts of armed criminal action, and one count of shooting from a motor vehicle. The indictment, which replaces a March criminal complaint against Williams, also adds a felony count of unlawfully possessing a firearm. (St. Louis County Police Department via AP)
LOUIS (AP) — A 20-year-old St. Louis man has been indicted on felony assault and weapons charges linked to a March shooting that wounded two police officers during a Ferguson protest.
A St. Louis County grand jury indicted Jeffrey Williams Wednesday on two counts of first-degree assault, three counts of armed criminal action, and one count of shooting from a motor vehicle. The indictment, which replaces a March criminal complaint against Williams, also adds a felony count of unlawfully possessing a firearm.
Williams is accused of wounding the officers during an early-morning rally March 12 sparked by the resignation of Ferguson’s police chief. Both officers, who survived, were monitoring protests outside the St. Louis suburb’s police station, which has been a nexus of unrest since a white Ferguson officer fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, last summer.
Prosecutors have alleged that Williams told investigators he fired a gun but was aiming at someone else. Williams’ attorney, Jerryl Christmas, has countered that his client has recanted that story, told him he never shot a weapon that day and only confessed after being roughed up by police.
St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman has called Christmas’ assertions that investigators battered a confession out of Williams “completely false.” Schellman said Williams was seen by a nurse when he was first booked into the county jail — standard procedure for all incoming inmates —who deemed him “fit for confinement.”
Williams remains jailed in lieu of $300,000 cash-only bond. Online court records show his arraignment is scheduled for June 3.
A message left Friday by The Associated Press with Christmas was not immediately returned.
Ferguson has been a national focal point since Brown was killed Aug. 9 by then-police officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury declined to indict Wilson in November, and a Justice Department investigation cleared Wilson.
A separate DOJ report released in March found widespread racial bias in Ferguson’s policing and municipal court system.