St. Louis native, Fred Watson, was watching baseball in his legally parked car in August of 2012 after playing basketball in Ferguson. Mr. Watson had frequented this specific park for many years.
Ferguson Police Officer, Eddie Boyd, III, parked his car in front of Watsons. The officer requested Watsons social security number, but as he was doing nothing wrong, Watson declined. Officer Boyd then pulled his gun, removed Watson from the vehicle and arrested him for Driving without a license, failure to have insurance, failure to register and tinting his windows. Watson had his license, his car was registered in Florida and he had insurance. Pursuant to Florida law, his windows were not excessively tinted. Watson was taken to jail where he posted a $700.00 bond to be released.
After he complained about the way he was treated, Ferguson added two more charges, including failure to comply with a police officer.
Watson worked for the National Geospatial – Intelligence Agency in St. Louis. This job requires special security clearance. At the time this happened he was undergoing a security clearance review. Watson tried to get the charges dropped on his own, but was forced to hire an attorney. His first attorney was unable to get the charges removed from his record. The goes on for a couple of years so Watson hires a second attorney. At this time, the Prosecuting Attorney indicated that all the charges had been amended down to illegal parking and/or littering and all the fines had been paid.
She was wrong. The failure to comply charges were still showing in some court records. Watson was fired because he couldn’t keep his security clearance without clearing up the charges in Ferguson.
His second attorney continued to try to clear his name. In March 2015, his letter criticizing the Ferguson Municipal Court was not responded. Prosecuting Attorney for Ferguson, Stephanie Karr resigned in May of 2016.
Now Watson is on his third set of attorneys, Arch City Defenders. This non-profit law firm has filed a Motion to withdraw the guilty pleas Watson never entered and to declare the convictions void.