After the arrest of 20-year-old Jeffrey Williams, protesters involved in the Ferguson Black Lives Matter movement rushed forward to say he was not a protester. However, Williams’ Facebook page shows he had befriended unreliable witness Dorian Johnson, the man who was with Mike Brown when he was shot by Officer Darren Wilson.
Williams was arrested Sunday, and police say he has already confessed to firing the shots that seriously injured two police officers. A gun matching the shell casings found at the scene was found in the house where Williams was arrested, police say. Williams claims he was firing at someone in the crowd, a person he said tried to rob him. He denies intentionally firing at the police.
Protesters connected to the movement immediately claimed not to know Williams. Bishop Derrick Robinson, who visited Williams in jail on Sunday, told the LA Times, “He hasn’t protested, he wasn’t actually a protester, he was actually coming out to support one night and just kind of being there to support the people.” Similarly, Tony Rice told the Times, “I have more hours on the ground than anyone. This guy is a lone wolf.”
A review of Williams’ Facebook page confirms he did not frequently discuss the protests (though he did mention them at least once last September); however, it also indicates he took an interest in the shooting of Mike Brown, the incident which initially sparked the protest movement.
Williams had thousands of Facebook friends, the majority of whom appear to be young women. However, one notable exception was Dorian Johnson, the man who was walking with Mike Brown when the two were stopped in the street by Officer Darren Wilson. (The connection was noted by BizPacReview.) It was Johnson who claimed that, after getting out of his car, Officer Wilson shot Brown in the back and then continued to shoot him several more times execution-style while Brown was trying to surrender.
Johnson’s account of the incident circulated widely via the media. It was even turned into an animated video clip which Jeffrey Williams viewed and posted on his Facebook page in January. Williams gave the clip a two-word introduction: “Fuked up.” Here is the clip:
In a thorough report on the incident, the DOJ later determined, “material portions of [Dorian Johnson’s] account lack credibility.” Among the problems with Johnson’s account, he claimed Mike Brown’s hands were never inside Officer Wilson’s car, a claim undercut by physical evidence. Johnson also claimed Brown was shot in the back, but multiple autopsies showed he was only shot from the front. And contrary to Johnson’s claim, evidence shows it was Brown advancing on Wilson as the final shots were fired. Other, more credible, eyewitnesses said Wilson was backpedaling away from Brown and telling him to stop before the fatal shots were fired.
Jeffrey Williams may not have been a regular protester, but he was there in solidarity with the protesters that night (according to Bishop Robinson) and he did express interest and outrage over the shooting of Mike Brown as it was described by Dorian Johnson.