Days after Ferguson was torched by angry rioters following a grand jury verdict not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, the policeman's lawyer announced moments ago that he has resigned from the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department.
As ABC reports, Wilson has been on administrative leave since the shooting. One of his attorneys, Neil Bruntrager, said the resignation is effective immediately.
Though Wilson was cleared of criminal charges by the grand jury, the Justice Department is conducting a civil rights investigation into the shooting as well as a separate probe of police department practices. Wilson, who has been in seclusion since the fatal shooting, said this week in an interview with "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanolpoulos that he had gotten married since the Aug.9 shooting and that he and his new wife are expecting a baby.
Wilson's resignation is unexpected because in that interview he announced that wanted to spend his career with the police force, and hoped to one day be promoted to sergeant. "I wanted to stay on the road for 30 years and then retire as sergeant and have a retirement," Wilson said. "That's all that I wanted."
But he said that after what happened, he was not sure he could return to the Ferguson Police Department. He was a member of the department for six years. "I'm not sure it's possible. I mean, you think they would accept me? You think it'd be safe for me?" Wilson asked.
He said his notoriety could also put his fellow officers in jeopardy, and asked: "Can I put them in that situation?"
Though in the interview he said he had not made a final decision on returning to the force, he offered some thoughts on what else he might want to do.
"I would love to teach people. I would love to give more insight on … into the use of force and anything I can," he said. "Anything that I can get out of this career I've had so far and of the incident, I would love to give to someone else."n is unexpected
Wilson's full resignation letter is below:
"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."