ST. LOUIS — An attorney for a man accused of shooting two police officers during a protest in Ferguson said Thursday that he expects his client will remain jailed until the case is resolved.
St. Louis County Circuit Judge Gloria Reno on Wednesday lowered Jeffrey L. Williams' bond from $300,000 cash to $200,000, despite a prosecutor's objections. But Williams' attorney, Jerryl Christmas, told The Associated Press on Thursday that his 20-year-old client probably won't be able to come up with that kind of cash pending his trial on seven shooting-related counts.
Getting the bond reduced "was a victory in my eyes, but it's still going to be a tremendous hurdle for him," Christmas said. "That's the best we'll be able to get at this point."
Prosecutors allege Williams shot and injured a St. Louis County officer and an officer from the suburb of Webster Groves during an early-morning rally March 12, after Ferguson's police chief, Tom Jackson, resigned. Both officers survived.
The protest was among many that followed last summer's death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed when he was fatally shot by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Brown's death spawned a national "Black Lives Matter" movement seeking changes in how police deal with minorities.
A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Justice Department declined to charge Wilson, who later resigned.
Williams has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree assault, three counts of armed criminal action and two weapons charges.
Prosecutors say Williams told investigators he fired a gun but was aiming at someone else. Both officers were monitoring a protest on the verge of breaking up outside the police station when shots suddenly rang out, wounding the Webster Groves officer in the face and the other officer in the shoulder.
But Christmas counters that Williams told him he never shot a weapon that day and only confessed after being roughed up by police. Christmas said Thursday that before Williams' next court appearance Sept. 18, he planned to ask a judge to bar prosecutors from using any statements Williams made to investigators.
"I don't think any of those statements were freely given, and they obviously were given without the advice of counsel," Christmas said.
St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman has called the idea that Williams was beaten into confessing "completely false."