ST. LOUIS (AP) — A key witness in the Michael Brown shooting death was freed Wednesday on reduced bond linked to charges that he resisted arrest during a confrontation last week with police.
Dorian Johnson’s payment of the required $100 to cover the $1,000 bond came just hours after a St. Louis judge reduced the bond from one that required Johnson to come up with $1,000.
Online court records earlier Wednesday showed that a judge on Monday had denied Johnson’s request to lower his bond, but one of his attorneys, Ryan Smith, and a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said that was erroneous. While Johnson’s attorneys had filed a motion to have the bond pared, that matter wasn’t discussed in court until Wednesday, when city prosecutors did not object to the lesser amount.
“The state usually objects when it believes there’s a public safety issue” involving a certain defendant’s release on bond, said Susan Ryan, a spokeswoman for the city circuit attorney’s office. “In this case, there’s no reason to believe there’s a public safety issue” with Johnson.
Ryan Smith, a Johnson attorney, declined to discuss Johnson’s case later Wednesday with The Associated Press.
Prosecutors on May 7 charged Johnson, 23, with resisting arrest or interfering with a lawful stop or detention, a misdemeanor. That criminal complaint accuses Johnson of trying to hinder the previous day’s arrest of his younger brother, 21-year-old Demonte Johnson, “by using or threatening the use of violence, physical force or physical interference.”
Dorian Johnson was a prominent witness to the shooting death last August of Brown, a black, unarmed 18-year-old who was killed by white Ferguson officer Darren Wilson during a confrontation in a street. Brown’s death led to sometimes-violent protests in Ferguson and other U.S. cities, spawning a national “Black Lives Matter” movement seeking changes in how police deal with minorities.
A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Justice Department declined to charge Wilson, who later resigned. But the Justice Department released a scathing report that cited racial bias and racial profiling in Ferguson policing and in a profit-driven municipal court system that frequently targeted blacks.
Dorian Johnson’s arrest came exactly a week after he sued Ferguson, Wilson and the city’s former police chief.
Demonte Johnson, who was charged last week with resisting arrest and a misdemeanor count of assault on a law enforcement officer, was freed Monday after posting $1,000 cash bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for May 28.
A message seeking comment also was left Wednesday with Demonte Johnson’s attorney, John Washington.
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