The Crusader Newspaper Group

Ferguson drops charges against man cited in Justice Dept. report

By Timothy Williams,

After five years of pursuing a host of minor charges against Fred Watson, whose case was held up as an example of systematically hostile treatment of black residents in Ferguson, Mo., the city abruptly dropped its prosecution this week without explanation.

Mr. Watson, who had been approached by a police officer while sitting in his parked car, was charged with failure to wear a seatbelt and six more offenses. His story was detailed in a Department of Justice report on Ferguson’s criminal justice system that followed the 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown.

Though the case generated public outrage, the city continued to pursue the charges, despite the arresting officer’s problematic disciplinary record and what Mr. Watson’s lawyers called flawed evidence.


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