On Sunday afternoon, St. Louis county prosecutor Bob McCulloch held a press conference to announce that a suspect, 20 year-old Jeffrey Williams, had been arrested, and has allegedly confessed to the shootings of two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri last week. Williams says he did not intend to shoot the two officers, but rather that he “may have had a dispute with some other individuals.”
So far, neither Barack Obama nor Eric Holder have been implicated, but that hasn’t stopped the conservative media from focusing on the fact that Williams has told investigators that he had been a participant in the demonstrations in Ferguson. What you probably won’t hear much from them is this other piece of information about the protesters’ involvement in the shooting investigation:
“What got the police to this point is information that was provided to them by members of the community. And I can’t stress how important that is in every case, but certainly in this case, it has been invaluable to do that.”
McColloch gives full credit to the protesters for getting police as far as they’ve gotten, which is to say all the way to an arrest and confession. Even taking Williams” word for it that he was one of the protesters, the cooperation police got from his fellow demonstrators stands in stark contrast with the behavior of the police when it came to investigating the death of Michael Brown. Even after leaving his body in the street for several hours, the police failed to document and collect crucial evidence, and even allowed Brown’s killer to process his own weapon.
Thanks to the protesters, Bob McCulloch should have no trouble securing a conviction of Jeffrey Williams, let alone an indictment, and you’re unlikely to see anyone wearing Jeffrey Williams t-shirts and bracelets. You also probably won’t hear McCulloch trying to impeach the testimony of his own witnesses if Williams ever goes to trial.
Whatever you believe about the killing of Michael Brown, whether you believe he had his hands up as Wilson told his sergeant right after the shooting, or you believe the shooting was justified, it would be nice if police had been as quick and thorough in their pursuit of that investigation as the Ferguson protesters were in assisting with this one.