Ferguson shooter was a protester

St. Louis County officials say they have arrested a 20-year-old Missouri man in connection with the shooting of two local police officers. Jeffrey Williams reportedly has admitted to the shooting. He claims, however, that he did not intend to shoot the police officers. Rather, he fired the shots in connection with a dispute with another individual, but missed his target and struck the officers instead.

Anything is possible.

Contrary to speculation by anti-police activists, Williams is neither a White Supremacist hoping to give the movement a bad name nor an outside agitator. Williams is Black and reportedly lives in the St. Louis area.

Williams is also part of the Ferguson protest movement. He has participated in several demonstrations against the police department. This doesn’t mean that the protest movement bears responsibility for the shooting, nor does it tell us anything about the merit (if any) of their claim that the department is systemically racist.

It does, however, cast doubt on Williams’ implausible claim that he did not intend to shoot the police officers. Anti-police animus supplies a motive for Williams to have shot them.

Williams has a reason to be unhappy with the police that is independent of any claim of racism. At the time of the shooting, he was the subject of an arrest warrant for failing to appear before his parole officer. He was on parole having previously been convicted of receiving stolen property.

The Justice Department claims that the Ferguson police is too aggressive in its interaction with African-American. But in Williams’ case, it seems the police weren’t aggressive enough. If it had tracked Williams down and arrested him pursuant to the outstanding warrant, he might not have been in a position to shoot the two officers.