Darren Wilson leaving Ferguson police force
Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri cop who killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August, is under “no illusion” about remaining a police officer, his lawyer said.
"There's no way in the world [Wilson] can go back to being a police officer,” attorney Neil Bruntrager told CNN this week.
"It's not a question of if, it's a question of when. He's on paid leave, and there are discussions that are going on right now to separate from the department in an amicable fashion," Bruntrager added. "Realistically, he can't go back to being a police officer...There's no illusion about any of this. But it's the way in which he leaves ... that's important to him on different levels."
On Monday, it was announced that a St. Louis County grand jury had decided it would not indict Wilson, 28, for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 18, on Aug. 9. Wilson, who is white, has maintained that he used deadly force against Brown, a black man unarmed at the time of the incident, in self-defense. A majority of witnesses testified to the grand jury that Brown had his hands raised and was running away from Wilson as the officer shot him repeatedly.
Attorney James Towey told The Washington Post this week that he warned Wilson against remaining an officer, something he initially told his attorneys he was interested in doing.
"I think I expressed to him, 'Do you realize your first call [back on the job] will be to a blind alley where you're executed?' He took a pause for a minute, thought about it and said, 'Oh.' That is the reality," Towey said.
Wilson, who has said he has a “clean conscience” over the events of Aug. 9, has had to realize that resuming life as a cop would likely endanger his life and those of other officers, Bruntrager said.
"The first day he would be back on the street something terrible would happen to him or to someone that would be working with him," he said.
"The last thing he wants is to put other police officers at risk.”
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles confirmed Tuesday that Wilson was still a police officer with the Ferguson Police Department, but he said that “no decision has been made” with respect to Wilson’s role with the police department.
The killing of Brown, who was shot at least six times, sparked months-long protests and anger in Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb of St. Louis whose community officials and police officers are mostly white, and across the nation in communities that have seen similar police slayings - especially of young black men - go unpunished.
The grand jury decision not to indict Wilson again set off rage in Ferguson and across the US, as demonstrators have taken to the likes of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City to protest the non-indictment and police brutality in general.
Brown’s family said this week that they were “crushed” by the grand jury’s decision, and that their son was “crucified” by the prosecutors, but they called for the rallies to remain peaceful.
Despite the grand jury decision, an investigation from the Ferguson PD may lead to disciplinary action against Wilson, and the US Department of Justice is currently conducting a civil rights probe of the incident.