Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who recently avoided prosecution for the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, has reportedly resigned from the Ferguson Police Department.
The news came Saturday afternoon, with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporting that Wilson’s attorney, Neil Bruntrager, had confirmed Wilson’s retirement, effective immediately. The Post-Dispatch reprinted Wilson’s resignation letter, which states that he hopes his resignation can play some role in the healing process for Ferguson, a city riven by protests and occasional violence since the August 9 shooting of Brown.
“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 confirms recent speculation that the Ferguson police officer would turn in his badge in the wake of the shooting and the media attention that has surrounded it. For his own safety and for that of his loved ones, Wilson has essentially been in hiding since the shooting became national news some months ago.
A grand jury this week ruled that Wilson should not be prosecuted for shooting Brown, who was unarmed but who Wilson says was charging at him prior to the shooting. That ruling set off a renewed wave of protests across the nation, as well as some rioting in Ferguson.
In his first public statements on the shooting, Wilson pushed back against witness allegations that Mike Brown had his hands up when Wilson fired the shots that killed him. Asked by ABC News‘ George Stephanopolous whether he would still shoot Brown if he could relive the encounter, Wilson answered that he would.
Wilson’s attorney told the media that a news conference is being planned to announce his resignation. No date was given for that conference, and it is unclear whether Wilson himself will speak alone or whether Ferguson Police officials will also be present.