Officer Wilson resigns in aftermath of Ferguson shooting
FERGUSON, Mo. — Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot an unarmed teenager in August, has resigned from the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, his attorney said Saturday night.
The resignation comes five days after a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. The shooting of Brown, who was 18 and unarmed, sparked worldwide protests. The announcement Monday of no indictment triggered another round of demonstrations that continued through the week and into the weekend.
Wilson had been on paid administrative leave since the incident.
Wilson, 28, cited security fears in his letter of resignation, which was published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Wilson’s resignation letter reads:
“I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow.
‘For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process.”
Wilson had been a member of the Ferguson Police Department for six years.
On Tuesday, Wilson told ABC News that Brown was the aggressor in the minutes before the shooting. In an account that generally mirrored his testimony before the grand jury, Wilson said Brown had attacked him while the officer sat in his car, then fled. Wilson said he chased after Brown until Brown turned back toward him, refusing Wilson’s commands to stop.
Wilson denied some witnesses’ claims that Brown had had his hands up when he was fatally shot. “That would be incorrect,” Wilson said.
As Brown approached, Wilson said, he warned Brown to stop. When he didn’t stop, Wilson fired his handgun.
“I had to. If I don’t, he will kill me if he gets to me,” Wilson said.
Brown, who had been hit, continued to come toward Wilson, the officer said. Wilson fired again and began backing away.
“He gets to about 8 or 10 feet, and as he does that he kind of starts to lean forward, like he’s going to tackle me. And I look down the barrel of my gun and I fired and what I saw was his head, and that’s where (the bullet) went.”
Wilson’s lawyer, Neil Bruntrager, said Wilson had been in hiding since days after the shooting, when he received a phone call while mowing the grass at his house.
“He had to leave the grass literally halfway mowed and he had to go into hiding because there are death threats against him, there are bounties on his head,” he said.