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.

But it will never be like it was, he says.

“I can’t get the five years back,” he said. His children will not be able to get back missed educational or extracurricular activities, like the Junior Olympics. He will not forget the embarrassment.

“We cannot be made whole. We cannot get that time back,” he said.

Still pending is a July 31 federal lawsuit Watson filed against Officer Eddie Boyd III and Ferguson.

The suit says that on Aug. 1, 2012, Boyd held him at gunpoint and filed bogus charges against him. It also says that Boyd illegally searched Watson’s car, and $2,000 later turned up missing.

Police Chief Delrish Moss declined to comment on the case last month, citing the pending civil suit. The city and Boyd have not yet filed a response, and no lawyer is yet listed for them.

For the full story visit: