Darren Wilson resigned from the Ferguson Police Department, his lawyer said Saturday, nearly four months after the white police officer’s fatal confrontation with the unarmed Michael Brown sparked protests across the USA.
Wilson, 28, has been on administrative leave since the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown, an unarmed black teen. His resignation is effective immediately, said one of his lawyers, Neil Bruntrager.
In a story published Saturday evening, Wilson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he resigned after the police department told him it had received threats of violence if he continued to work there.
“I’m resigning of my own free will,” he told the newspaper in a phone interview. “I’m not willing to let someone else get hurt because of me.”
He added that resigning is “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do” and that serving as a police officer is “the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.”
The text of the letter:
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 resignation comes less than a week after a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict him. Peaceful protests turned into riots in Ferguson and elsewhere around the country.
In one protest earlier this week in Ferguson, a St. Louis woman lost her eye when police fired a bean bag round at a car she was riding in, shattering a window, during protests earlier this week, her father said.
Donnell Conner told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his daughter, Dornella Conner, 24, lost her left eye and is having trouble focusing with the right eye after being sprayed with glass and debris. He said his daughter, the mother of two, is a few months pregnant and that the fetus is fine.
Police said her boyfriend, DeAngelas Lee, 21, was arrested after trying to drive into an officer early Tuesday. A grand jury spent more than three months reviewing evidence in the case before declining Monday to issue any charges against Wilson.
Lee was charged with second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer and was being held on $50,000 bond.
“I see her like this and I am hurt and confused,” Donnell Conner of O’Fallon, Mo., told the newspaper. “She’s very depressed. Very emotional.”
Her injury is among the most serious reported during protests this week in Ferguson and nearby St. Louis.
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SOURCE: USA Today – William M. Welch