Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown two months ago, testified before a St. Louis grand jury that the shooting occurred as the result of a struggle between the two. Forensic evidence appears to support Wilson, according to The New York Times.
The Times reported:
The police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., two months ago has told investigators that he was pinned in his vehicle and in fear for his life as he struggled over his gun with Mr. Brown, according to government officials briefed on the federal civil rights investigation into the matter.
The officer, Darren Wilson, has told the authorities that during the scuffle, Mr. Brown reached for the gun.
It was fired twice in the car, according to forensics tests performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The first bullet struck Mr. Brown in the arm; the second bullet missed.
His testimony, on its face, could be dismissed as self-serving, were it not for forensics to support it. The Times report continued:
The forensics tests showed Mr. Brown’s blood on the gun, as well as on the interior door panel and on Officer Wilson’s uniform. Officer Wilson told the authorities that Mr. Brown had punched and scratched him repeatedly, leaving swelling on his face and cuts on his neck.
This is the first public account of Officer Wilson’s testimony to investigators, but it does not explain why, after he emerged from his vehicle, he fired at Mr. Brown multiple times. It contradicts some witness accounts, and it will not calm those who have been demanding to know why an unarmed man was shot a total of six times. Mr. Brown’s death continues to fuel anger and sometimes-violent protests.
In September, Officer Wilson appeared for four hours before a St. Louis County grand jury, which was convened to determine whether there is probable cause that he committed a crime. Legal experts have said that his decision to testify was surprising, given that it was not required by law. But the struggle in the car may prove to be a more influential piece of information for the grand jury, one that speaks to Officer Wilson’s state of mind, his feeling of vulnerability and his sense of heightened alert when he killed Mr. Brown.
Police officers typically have wide latitude to use lethal force if they reasonably believe that they are in imminent danger.
The officials said that while the federal investigation was continuing, the evidence so far did not support civil rights charges against Officer Wilson. To press charges, the Justice Department would need to clear a high bar, proving that Officer Wilson willfully violated Mr. Brown’s civil rights when he shot him.
Watch Saturday morning’s news report, via CNN. Story continues below.
The moment The New York Times article hit the newsstands, Ferguson protestors took notice and tweeted their concern, according to Twitchy. Here’s an example:
It’s not looking good y’all. All signs are looking like a no indictment. This NYT leaked into article, scary. Pray for STL. #Ferguson
— deray mckesson (@deray) October 18, 2014
Concern soon turned into conspiracy:
— nastyness61 (@Nastyness61) October 18, 2014
@deray There was never going to be an indictment the way McCulloch did this. He didnt want DW prosecuted & he made sure it wouldnt happen
— Unapologetic Negro (@HollaBlackGirl) October 18, 2014
Then conspiracy morphed into revenge:
— CC2ARMSHQ (@CC2ARMS) October 18, 2014
— Operation Ferguson (@OpFerguson) October 18, 2014
There were also tweets supporting Wilson, but those were angrily shouted down by Brown’s supporters. Check these, and other tweets out at Twitchy.