Darren Wilson Resigns From Ferguson Police Department

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(CNN) – Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in August, has resigned from the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, his attorney, Neil Bruntrager, confirmed to CNN Saturday night.

In a telephone interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Wilson said he resigned after the police department told him it received threats of violence if he remained an employee.

“I’m resigning of my own free will,” he said. “I’m not willing to let someone else get hurt because of me.”

He said resigning was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

The resignation, which is immediate, comes five days after a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown, 18.

The shooting sparked worldwide protests and the Monday announcement of no indictment triggered another round of demonstrations that continued through the week and into the weekend.

The August 9 shooting and the way it was handled by authorities in Missouir reopened a contentious national debate on race and law enforcement, with many people complaining that police unfairly target black males. Wilson is white and Brown was black.

Wilson thanks his supporters

Wilson had been a member of the Ferguson Police Department for six years. He had been on paid administrative leave since the incident.

According to the Post-Dispatch, Wilson said he’s not receiving a severance package. He’d been negotiating his resignation for weeks, according to people close to the talks. The letter does not say what Wilson plans to do next.

Wilson, 28, cited security fears in his letter of resignation, which 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’s lawyer, Bruntrager, told CNN that Wilson had been in hiding since days after the shooting, when he received a phone call saying his home address was circulating on the internet. He was mowing the grass at the time.

Former officer moved from house to 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.

He stayed under the radar by moving from house to house, including briefly living with one of his lawyers, and spending time watching movies in dark theaters to avoid detection.

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.”

Governor calls for special session

In other action related to Ferguson, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called for a special state legislative session to address “critical funding” needs for the National Guard and state police after violent protests in Ferguson this week.

In a late-night call with state legislative leaders Friday night, Nixon highlighted the session’s urgency to ensure Guard members are paid on December 15, his office said in a statement.

Hundreds more protesters turned out late Friday after a quiet Thanksgiving, clashing with officers and National Guard troops outside the Ferguson Police Department.

As protesters stepped into the street, authorities rushed across to take them into custody — pulling some to the ground and shackling them with plastic zip-tie cuffs.

At least 16 people were arrested, including one facing a charge of assault on a law enforcement officer. One officer was injured, police said.

The protests have spread beyond Ferguson.

Nationwide demonstrations included service disruptions at an Oakland, California, transit station and a march in New York City.

Protesters in Seattle clashed with authorities as well, prompting police to use pepper spray.

16 comments

  • Unfortunate

    Unfortunately he will probably have to move and change his name. This is what happens when you are doing your job. What a mess

    • jek

      Yeah your probably right! I read that one of those idiots torched his own house last nite by mistake and is raising hell that the fire dept. didn’t come put it out! If I were the Mayor of a small town, I would hire that Officer in a heartbeat.

  • Bob1

    WOW that’s shocking I never even seen that coming lol inbrééd JEK would love to have a officer here who has ties to the KlingKlans as if there aren’t enough bígot pieces of sħít here alrdy!

  • noraizdaiz

    Ch 5, I’m sure you meant to say… Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, who had robbed a store just minutes earlier and did not follow verbal instructions from the police officer to get out of the street but instead assaulted the officer, who acted in self defense, in August?????

  • judy

    from the evidence presented….he did the right thing…too bad he has to pay for the consequences for such a high profile incident. all so complex today. feel for “victim’s” family as well. not a racial confrontation…just an unfortunate event for everyone. healing for everyone involved

  • John

    So why was Michael Brown’s body left in the street for 4 hours? Why wasn’t a proper incident report ever filed? Darren Wilson decides to design after he’s violated department policy? What a great guy!

    • jek

      Hey John! what was that 18 yr. old Punk doing out that late to begin with! where the hell was his parents. It appears your the TRASH!

      • JEKfüćksHisMom

        lol hope you guys ant taking this moronic ašš inbreed seriously smdh u JED needs to get back to mating with the farm animals and stay off these forums with his blasphemy!

    • HL

      How exactly did he violate department policy? And what exactly is the Ferguson PD department policy? Have you read it?

  • Unfortunate

    People need to stop referring to M. Brown as if he were a child. He was 18 and accountable for his actions. He was not a child, as he is being portrayed by family and some media outlets. I’m tired of this card being played over and over.

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