Man Who Lost Job and Home Has Charges Dropped by Ferguson Cops After 5 Years

Fred Watson won a small victory in what has been a long battle Monday. More than five years have passed since the Navy veteran was held at gunpoint by a Ferguson police officer before being arrested, having his car towed and being jailed. More than two years have passed since Watson was featured, without being named, in a Justice Department report that blasted police in Ferguson for targeting African-Americans, making unconstitutional stops and arrests, and treating the city’s police and court system like an ATM.

On Monday, all nine municipal charges against Watson were quietly dropped.

The Ferguson prosecutor did not notify Watson nor his lawyers with the nonprofit ArchCity Defenders law firm and offered no explanation, said lawyer Blake Strode.

The prosecutor, Lee Clayton Goodman, told the Post-Dispatch that Watson’s case fell within the guidelines set out in Ferguson’s consent decree with the Justice Department, in which the city agreed to dismiss certain municipal court cases.

After being charged, Watson lost his security clearance, then his six-figure job with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, then his home.

The $58,000 he had saved for his first two years of law school has been spent on food and other daily expenses.

Watson said he has battled depression and is broke. He has been living out of storage units and sleeping in basements and the back seat of his car in Illinois.

But Watson said he was “pleased that we moved (the case) from step two to step three.”

Step one, he says, was finding lawyers with enough courage to take his case.

Step three will be the restoration of his character, maligned by the arrest and charges, and an attempt to remake his life.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3209 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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