Jeffrey Williams, the 20-year-old man charged in the shooting of two Ferguson police officers, was arraigned on Monday but not before even more controversy was sparked in the case.
Reports have surfaced suggesting that Williams may have been beaten by the officers who arrested him despite the fact that he did not resist arrest.
Meanwhile, some activists, social media users and local officials are struggling to make sense of the details surrounding the incident.
It seems as if the very arrest that was supposed to bring answers and some form of closure to the once mysterious shooting has only caused even more questions to arise as murky details birthed a complicated conspiracy theory.
Williams has been charged with two counts of first-degree assault, one count of shooting from a car and three counts of armed criminal action.
If he is convicted of all the charges he will be facing a life sentence.
Political figures, activists and even the families of young men who have been slain by law enforcement have publicly condemned the shooting of the officers.
At no point, however, should a suspect be brutally attacked during an arrest when force isn’t necessary.
That’s what some Ferguson residents are saying was the case with Williams.
A local pastor and activist, Derrick Robinson, visited the suspect in jail and supported accusations that officers beat Williams.
Defense attorney Jerryl Christmas added that Williams had multiple bruises on his face, shoulder and back and also had swelling on his head.
Williams’ own mug shot confirms the presence of at least one mark on his cheek although the image can’t confirm what caused the mark.
Ferguson officers have adamantly denied the allegations, but following the Department of Justice’s report and the events that followed the death of unarmed teen Michael Brown, it’s hard for anyone to find the Ferguson police department or any nearby law enforcement agencies to be a trustworthy source.
“The St. Louis County Police Department calls these allegations completely false,” St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman told the Los Angeles Times in an email.
The email added that “the arrest team had an overwhelming presence and Williams did not resist whatsoever.”
It creates the image of a situation where the use of force would be completely unnecessary and impractical. The problem is the fact that the Black community has witnessed far too many situations where these same circumstances were present and Black men were still abused by officers.
The grim reality is that not resisting arrest has failed to protect Black suspects in the past even when the number of officers on the scene would constitute an “overwhelming presence.”
Instead, he says he was firing at another protester that allegedly robbed him.
As he fired from his car on a hill more than 100 feet away from the officers, somehow those bullets, intended for another protester, pierced one officer’s face and another officer’s shoulder.
It seems like a surprising worst-case scenario for a young man who had previously, according to residents, not been a part of the Black Lives Matter movement and hadn’t participated in rallies in the past.
These are the details that make the story difficult for some to believe—and law enforcement harder to trust.
It may be Williams’ story that some people can’t believe but there are theories suggesting that Williams isn’t the author behind the complicated tale.
Robinson insisted that the entire situation was a “set up.”
A local government employee, Uplands Park village clerk John Muhammad, agreed and suggested the shooting was a “set-up between members of the police fraternity.”
Muhammad told Fox News that the police “operate just like the KKK” and arranged the shooting so that officers would look less like the bad guys and more like the victims.
“I think they did it to make themselves a victim when honestly the victims are Black people,” he said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I think it’s just a publicity stunt, no more than that.”
Muhammad has since been suspended for making the comments.