Two hundred forty-three days have passed since the murder of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, and the city of Ferguson is still rocked by unrest amidst protests.
On Wed. March 11, former Ferguson Chief of Police Thomas Jackson resigned effective March 19. Ferguson officials stated that the city and Jackson “agreed to a mutual separation” on March 11 according to CNN.
Jackson said, “it is with profound sadness that I am announcing I am stepping down from my position as chief of police for the city of Ferguson, Missouri.”
He will receive severance pay as well as healthcare for a year as a nationwide search for a replacement begins. Jackson’s resignation came a week after a Department of Justice report stated that the Ferguson Police Department engaged in “unlawful bias against and stereotypes about African-Americans” that included fraudulent traffic fines, harassment, violations of constitutional rights, and even setting dogs on citizens. One employee was fired for sending racist emails, and two others who were under investigation for the same offense resigned.
A few hours after Jackson’s announcement of resignation peaceful protests began outside the Ferguson Police Department; two people were arrested for unknown reasons. Two officers were then shot in front of the building. Heather De Mian had been livestreaming a video when the shots rang out, and her video proved invaluable in the arrest of Jeffrey Williams on March 14th.
Williams was charged with two counts of first-degree assault, one count of firing a weapon from a vehicle, and three counts of armed criminal activity. According to CNN, Williams confessed to the shooting but said he had been aiming for individuals he had gotten into a dispute with and not the officers who were injured. One officer was from Webster Grove while the other was from the St. Louis County Police Department.
Questions were raised as to whether or not Williams had voluntarily confessed or had been coerced with beatings after several bruises were found on his body and a knot on his head.
William’s attorney Jerryl Christmas said, “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 [to] assess if these were voluntary statements that he made.”
Ferguson PD stated that the rumours of beating Williams were completely false.