Officer Shoots Defendant In Rural Alabama Courtroom

A police officer shot and wounded a man who was in court on a harassment charge Thursday after he attacked a judge and tried to grab a gun from a spectator, police said.

Some people who were in the courtroom disputed that account, saying they did not see the man hit or threaten the judge or attempt to grab a weapon.

Sara Williams said she was sitting in the front row when the man, whom she knew, got agitated after the judge fined him $800. He was wearing a cast on his leg and waved one of his crutches in the air.

“The police were hollering for him to get down” when an officer opened fire, she said.

Williams said she yelled “Don’t shoot him no more!” right before the officer fired again.

Afterward, she and more than a dozen people stood across the street from City Hall chanting, “We want justice.”

Witnesses identified the man who was shot as Bryant Keith Ford of Goodwater.

Court records showed that Ford, 25, was due in court Thursday on a harassment charge filed by a neighbor who claimed he cursed her in December after accusing her of talking to police about him. Judge Carlton Teel was to hear the case without a jury.

Ford was transported by helicopter to the hospital at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, where a spokesman said he was being evaluated in the emergency room.

Teel’s brother, Frank Teel, a lawyer in nearby Rockford, said the shooting happened at Goodwater City Hall, where district court proceedings are held once a month for people who can’t get to the county seat.

“I’ve not talked to him, but I’m told he was OK,” Frank Teel said of his brother. The judge’s aide suffered powder burns, he said.

Goodwater is a town of 1,500 about 60 miles north of Montgomery.

Source:
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_COURT_SHOOTING

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