CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOX) – The man who fired the shots that wounded two police officers during a 2015 Ferguson protest has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Jeffrey Williams, 22, was convicted in December on two counts of assault, one count of shooting from a vehicle and two counts of armed criminal action. He claims someone else in his car fired the shots, which were intended for someone who had shot at them.
His attorney, Jerryl Christmas, says the fact the officers were hit by the shots fired hundreds of feet away, was a fluke.
“He was never aiming for the officers. Jeffrey’s not even a marksman. He’s had no training on shooting. I don’t think he could’ve shot those officers if he’d been trying,” he says.
Christmas asked the judge for a 15-year sentence, saying that’s the average for such cases. He called 25 years “excessive.”
Prosecutors urged a stiffer penalty, 39 years, saying it could send a message to those who might bring a gun to a peaceful protest.
Christmas says the sentence does not send that message.
“This was totally unrelated to the protests that were going on,” he says. “I don’t think we should associate this with the protests.”
The wounded officers were among those guarding the Ferguson Police Headquarters the night of March 12, 2015, as protesters gathered following the resignation of then-Police Chief Tom Jackson. Jackson was chief when Michael Brown was shot and killed the previous August.
One officer was hit in the shoulder and is back at work. The other was hit in the face and has not returned.
More than a dozen officers were in the courtroom for Friday’s sentencing.
Before sentencing Williams for the shooting, the judge revoked his probation from a 2013 credit card fraud conviction.