Jeffrey Williams: Was his confession coerced? Here’s an eyewitness report from the scene at the Ferguson, Missouri demonstration by somebody who had to duck for cover during the shooting.
For starters, background on my personal experience with St. Louis area law enforcement is recounted at: http://janbtucker.com/blog/2014/08/14/st-louis-ferguson-michael-brown-and-why-im-not-surprised/ As an “oh by the way,” one thing I don’t think I mentioned in that story about USA vs John Gipson, was that a white, retired police officer in St. Louis administered a polygraph examination on my client, Gipson and amongst other things established the truth of his allegation that he was beaten while in custody by St. Louis police officers.
A typical allegation being bandied about on Facebook and throughout social media sites is the allegation that suspected police shooter Jeffrey Williams was beaten and/or tortured into confessing while in police custody. Here’s a comment by Mark A. Clements forwarded to me by my friend and colleague Alex Salazar:
I am urging all Attorneys and U.S. attorney Eric Holder to travel to the Ferguson county jail and to make a determination if Ferguson shooting suspect of two police officer was not tortured in police custody. The claims have been released and must be addressed. Torture is a crime!. If police tortured this suspect I demand that he be released for violations of his civil rights and that the officers be held responsible.
Alex, an ex-LAPD officer turned private investigator and civil rights activist (and member of the board of CALLAC, California League of Latin American Citizens), has been to Ferguson repeatedly, not to mention New York in connection with the Eric Garner shooting, Cleveland on the Tamar Rice killing, Albuquerque, and recently, to Selma Alabama. Alex turned me on to a reliable confidential source who gives the following chilling narrative of the events surrounding the shootings of police officers in Ferguson from an eyewitness perspective (someone who had to duck when the bullets started flying) and the allegations now circulating in the community about Jeffrey Williams being beaten in custody:
Mar 11, 2015 approx 7:00pm I arrived at my friend xxxxxx house to do laundry.
Mar 11, 2015 approx 9:15pm I received a series of texts from my son yyyyyy (age xx, xth grade) wanting to attend the protest being held at Ferguson Police Department to celebrate Chief Thomas Jackson resignation. The text exchanges between xxxxxx and myself continued until (approx. 10:56pm) where I informed xxxxxx that I was on my way to pick him up.
Mar 11, 2015 approx 11:15pm yyyyyy and myself arrived at the house to pick xxxxxx up then we proceeded to go Ferguson Police Station.
Mar 11, 2015 approx 11:30pm We arrived at FPD and parked on the Subway parking lot located across the street from FPD. xxxxxx exited the vehicle and walked to the entrance of Subway parking lot to see what the protesters were doing and checked out the scene. He returned back to the vehicle (approx. 2 minutes) at that time yyyyyy, xxxxxx, and myself exited the vehicle.
Mar 11, 2015 approx 11:35pm We then proceeded to walk toward the direction where protesters were assembled but stopped at the entrance of Subway parking lot standing on Tiffin Street. I observed (approx. 70) protesters standing on both sides of S. Florissant Rd. in front of Ferguson police station and also on Andy Worm parking lot. Overall the crowd was peaceful. As we were standing there an African American male approached us and started to imply that he had never seen police officers from other municipalities here in Ferguson. We briefly talked with him then proceeded to walk across the street.
Mar 11, 2015 approx. 11:40pm We walked across Tiffin Street and stood on side walk near the edge of the hill. During this time I observed a Caucasian male (medium build, approx. age 55-60 years old) who identified himself as a “homeless man” as I over heard him as he conversed with an African American male (slim build, approx. age 50-55 years old) who appeared to be intoxicated. They were standing just below the hill (approx. 5 yards) from where we were standing on the hill on Tiffin Street.
Mar 11, 2015 approx.11:45pm As we stood on the hill I observed a Caucasian male (slim build, approx. age 27-35 years old) barbecuing on the left hand side of Tiffin Street just a few feet from S. Florissant Rd. During this time I observed him yell out random things and heckle Ferguson police. It should be noted that he can be heard in the background of the actual police shooting that is being played on CNN. I also observed the Caucasian male being approached by two Caucasian males where they had a brief conversation before the two males walked away. One of the males was a bald head heavy/stocky build, approx. 35-40 years old with a pudge stomach wearing a white t-shirt and jeans. The other male was stocky build, approx. 50-55 years old with beard and mustache. All three males had a brief conversation and then the two males walked away. At one point the male who was barbecuing walked across Tiffin street where the protesters were gathered on Andy Worm parking lot for a brief moment before returning back across Tiffin Street where he resumed barbecuing and continued to “yell out” random things and heckle police.
Mar 11, 2015 approx. 11:50pm I observed an African American female with long black braids (slender build, approx. 20-25 years old) with two to three African American males. My attention was focused on her because she seemed to be intoxicated and protesting aggressively. At times I observed her walk across S. Florissant Rd on the same side of the street were the Ferguson police were standing. She continued to yell and heckle the FPD. Also during this time frame I observed a black SUV truck that was previously parked on the left hand side of Tiffin Street move to park on the right hand side of Tiffin Street. The driver was an African American male (heavy build, approx. 30-35 years old) wearing a hat.
Mar 12, 2015 approx.12:00am I observed the same African American female previously mentioned and two African American males walk from Andy Worm parking lot up the hill towards where yyyyyy, xxxxxx, and myself were standing on Tiffin Street. As the female walked up the hill she made eye contact with me and stated that she was “intoxicated” and I then agreed with her. I recognized one of the males she was with as a protester whom I had met approx. 7 months ago. xxxxxx knew him as well and we all embraced and greeted one another. Again the female made eye contact with me and stated that she wanted to walk across S. Florissant Rd in front of the police station to “agitate” the Ferguson police “some more.” Then she proceeded to ask me if I thought she should “do it.”
My response was “no.” Then she proceeded to ask me “why not?” My response was “you have a target on your back because you have been messing with them tonight, and they are going to pounce on you.” She proceeded to say “I don’t give a fuck.” My response was “but I do.” She then stated “I’m going home” and proceeded to walk up the hill along with an African American male.
Approx. 10 seconds later I heard what appeared to be gun shots being fired from the top of the hill on Tiffin Street. As I look back I observed a flash about 30-40 yards from where we were standing on the hill. I heard approx.4-5 gun shots. I then observed the same African American female I had just spoken with run back down the hill and hide in front of the black SUV truck I mentioned in previous entry. My reaction time to process what was happening was approx. 3-4 seconds. I then grabbed xxxxxx’s wrist and yyyyyy’s arm and we all ducked in front of the black SUV truck mentioned in previous entry. We stayed there for approx. 2-3 seconds before we attempted to run back to my vehicle.
As we were running I observed a blue four door vehicle with two Caucasian males inside the vehicle coming from the top of the hill on Tiffin Street driving fast. The vehicle turned left onto the Subway parking lot before almost hitting a white vehicle which was being driven by a Caucasian male. The white vehicle pulled back a little to allow the blue car to get by. As the blue car passed us I stopped running and yelled to yyyyyy and xxxxxx “that’s them, that’s them.” We stopped running approx. 2 seconds before yyyyyy stated “lets get to the car.” The blue car then made a left onto S. Florissant Rd. then sped off. We continued to run to my vehicle and then drove off onto S. Florissant Rd. As we drove down Chambers Rd. we noticed several police cars driving extremely fast with their lights and sirens on driving in the opposite direction.
March 12, 2015 approx. 12:30am I dropped yyyyyy off at home.
March 12, 2015 approx. 12:50am xxxxxx and myself arrived home.
March 12, 2015 approx. 1:00am I watched CNN and discovered that two police officers were shot during the protest at the Ferguson police department.
March 12, 2015 approx. 1:10am I notified yyyyyy via text that what happened to us at the protest made national news. I also informed her of the two police officers who had been shot. The text exchanges between yyyyyy and myself continued until approx. 2:30am.
March 12, 2015 approx. 2:38am Contacted CNN to report my account of the events of what took place and informed them of the blue car that sped away from the scene. Left voicemail message.
March 12, 2015 approx. 3:47am Contacted News 4 via email sent from my cellular phone to inform them of the blue car I observed sped away from the scene.
March 12, 2015 approx. 3:35pm I contacted Lacy Clay office to talk to someone regarding my account of what happen in the police shooting. I was directed to call crime stoppers.
March 12, 2015 approx. 4:00pm I contacted Crime Stoppers to give my account of what happened in the police shooting. A short version of my account of the events was documented and I was given a tip reference number CSI-xxx-yyy and was told I could follow up on my lead in approx. 2-3 weeks.
March 13, 2015 approx. 5:10pm Second attempt to contact News 4 to give my account of what happen in the police shooting.
March 15, 2015 approx. 6:30pm I drove to the Ferguson Police Department to see what if anything was going on. I observed news crews and a couple of people standing in the Subway parking lot. I recognized an African American female whom I met approx. 7 months ago from protesting. We had a brief conversation about the events that had taken place over the last couple of days. She indicated to me that her friend sent her a series of text messages stating that the suspect Jeffrey Williams in police custody is her cousin and that “he did not do it and the police are beating him.”
March 13, 2015 approx. 11:30am I was watching CNN and saw police had a person of interest or possible suspect in connection to the Ferguson police shooting. While still watching CNN I observed police trying to gain entry through the suspects roof. I also saw a very heavy police presence on the suspect’s street.
March 13, 2015 approx. 2:30pm I was watching CNN to get an update on the Ferguson police shooting. I recognized a young African American female on CNN stating that she woke up to the police with a “red dot ” on her chest and she was “begging for her life” stating over and over “don’t kill me.” I recognized the female mentioned on entry March 11, 2015 (approx. 11:50pm) and entry March 12, 2015 (approx. 12:00am) as the female who I briefly talk to on the hill right before the shooting took place. There was absolutely no way she could have been a suspect because I was talking to her just seconds before the shots rang out.