Ferguson: Police deny beating shooting suspect Jeffrey Williams

Story highlights

  • Jeffrey Williams, 20, is accused of shooting two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri
  • Defense attorney: "One thing that is clear is that he has a large amount of bruising on his body"
  • Police flatly deny allegation that Williams was beaten or bruised in custody

(CNN)"Completely false."

That's how police are responding to allegations that they beat the man arrested for shooting two police officers during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, last week.
Jeffrey Williams, 20, has been charged with two counts of first-degree assault, a count of firing a weapon from a vehicle and three counts of armed criminal activity.
    Police have said he admitted to firing the shots that struck the officers. But Williams' lawyer says he has little confidence in such statements.
    "He's scared. You know, this has been pretty traumatic for him," attorney Jerryl Christmas said about his client on Monday.
    "One thing that is clear is that he has a large amount of bruising on his body that I noticed that I'm very concerned about. It appears that whatever statements he made, he was without the advice of counsel, and when I look at the bruising, it's hard for me assess if these were voluntary statements that he made."
    Christmas told CNN that Williams has bruising across his back, and a knot on his head.
    "He said he was bruised by the police when he was taken into custody. And he was in a lot of pain when he was being questioned," Christmas said. "They used a lot of force on him."
    Police deny the accusation.
    "With regard to the allegations that Jeffrey Williams was 'beaten' by police, the St. Louis County Police Department calls these allegations completely false," Sgt. Brian Schellman said in a statement. "Immediately following the arrest, arresting officers transported Williams to St. Louis County Police Headquarters where he was interviewed by Crimes Against Persons Detectives. This entire interview was video and audio recorded."
    Schellman also said that Williams was seen by a nurse, who released Williams as "fit for confinement."
    Williams is being held on a cash-only $300,000 bond, according to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, who said it's possible Williams could face more charges and that others could be charged in the case.
    The prosecutor thanked the public for the information that led to the arrest. He said police served a search warrant on Williams' residence where they seized a .40-caliber handgun, "which has been tied to the shell casings that were recovered" at the scene of the shooting.
    One element of the case that authorities have yet to sort out is intent, McCulloch said, adding that Williams has acknowledged firing the shots but has said he wasn't aiming at the police officers.
    Investigators are not sure they "buy" Williams' claim that he opened fire after a dispute with other individuals, McCulloch said, but he didn't rule it out.
    After speaking to his client, Christmas said that it's clear to him there was no intent to target police.
    For more than 200 days, protests have taken place in Ferguson since the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted.
    According to his attorney, Williams was not part of the protest community, and does not have a history of violence.
    "I clearly think that we don't have the right person in custody," Christmas said.