Due to threats of violence, and the “bigger picture,” Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot teenager Michael Brown in August, confirmed on Saturday that he is resigning from the Ferguson Police Department.
Wilson, who was not indicted by a St. Louis County grand jury over the Michael Brown shooting, had worked for the Ferguson Police Department for around six years, and was reportedly sorry to be tendering his resignation.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Wilson said in a telephone interview on Saturday night that he was resigning due to the threats of violence received by the police department if he remained in his position.
“I’m resigning of my own free will. I’m not willing to let someone else get hurt because of me,” he said.
Nevertheless, the decision to resign is not an easy one for Darren Wilson, who added that it was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
Wilson’s official resignation letter noted, “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.”
Despite the fact that he earned around $45,000 annually, Darren Wilson said he hasn’t received a severance package, although he said he may negotiate with the department in hopes of receiving one.
According to Anthony Gray, an attorney representing the Brown family, Wilson tendered his resignation merely for his own benefit.
“It’s probably in his best interest to sever his ties with the Ferguson community, as well as the Ferguson police department. I think this incident has severely compromised his ability to police in the way he was paid to do by the city,” he said.
Echoing Gray’s sentiments, Patricia Bynes, a Democratic committeewoman for Ferguson township who has been active in the protests, said the resignation is too little, too late.
“It doesn’t even have the same impact that it would have months ago. It would have relieved a lot of anger and the pressure in the streets. It’s been almost infuriating to get to this point and nothing has changed. There was no accountability and sense of responsibility for what has happened,” she said.
Even though many people would have wanted more in terms of punishment for Darren Wilson, his resignation is a victory nonetheless for the Michael Brown camp, which believes Wilson and others in the Ferguson Police Department should have been fired back in August.