officer in fatal shooting resigned without severance: mayor
Send a link to a friend
[December 01, 2014]
By Daniel Wallis and Edward McAllister
FERGUSON, Mo. (Reuters) - The white police
officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson,
Missouri, in August got no severance deal when he resigned from the
force, the mayor of the St. Louis suburb said on Sunday.
The officer, Darren Wilson, announced his resignation late
Saturday, saying he feared for his own safety and that of his fellow
police officers after a grand jury decided not to indict him in the
fatal Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
"There will be no severance or extension of benefits for Darren
Wilson following his resignation," Mayor James Knowles told a news
conference. Knowles also outlined new incentives to bring more
African-Americans into the Ferguson police force.
Brown's death galvanized critics of the way police and the criminal
justice system treat African-Americans and other minority groups.
Protests in Ferguson have taken place for months and erupted into
violence when the grand jury decided last Monday not to charge
The protests have spread around the country. Over the past week
there have been demonstrations in more than 100 cities, on public
roadways, in shopping malls, and government buildings.
On Sunday, demonstrators temporarily shut down part of the busy
Interstate 395 highway that runs through Washington, D.C., police
said. The protest lasted less than an hour while people formed a
human chain to block traffic in both directions.
Anger spilled onto the playing field when the NFL's St. Louis Rams
played Oakland at home on Sunday. Some of the Rams entered the
stadium with their hands raised overhead in a show of solidarity
with Brown, who some witnesses say had his hands in the air when
Wilson fired the fatal shots.
The St. Louis Police Officers Association said in a statement it was
"profoundly disappointed" by the act.
"(They) chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the
... Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police
officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and
inflammatory," the statement said of the Rams players.
About 40 or 50 protesters briefly blocked a street outside Edward
Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis after the game and later marched
through the surrounding streets chanting "black lives matter."
Many Rams fans, mostly white men, applauded riot police as they
followed the demonstrators. A handful of demonstrators were seen
being taken into custody.
Wilson, who said he was acting in self-defense and that his
conscience is clear, had been on administrative leave and in
seclusion since the incident.
[to top of second column]
Ferguson's mayor said he had not asked for Wilson's resignation but
Knowles wanted the city to turn a page, even though the officer had
expressed an interest "in a future here."
Knowles said his focus was on how to rebuild trust in the city,
where the shooting exposed long-standing grievances about race
relations both in Ferguson and across the country.
Veteran civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton preached on Sunday to
a congregation of some 2,500 worshippers at the St. Louis church
where Michael Brown’s funeral was held in August. The dead teen's
parents were among the congregation.
Wilson's departure was long anticipated because of the potential
risks to his own safety and the deep rifts that have emerged in
Ferguson between the mostly white police force and the majority
Some critics want the police chief to resign as well. During the
news conference on Sunday, the chief, Tom Jackson, said he had no
plans to resign. The mayor said no changes in the department's
leadership were in the works.
President Barack Obama will meet on Monday with civil rights
leaders, elected officials and law enforcement officials from around
the country to discuss how communities and police can work together
to build trust to strengthen neighborhoods across the country, the
White House said in a statement on Sunday.
He will also meet with cabinet members to discuss a review Obama
ordered in August of federal programs that provide equipment to
local law enforcement agencies, the White House said.
(Additional reporting By Doina Chiacu and Lisa Lampert in
Washington; Writing by Frank McGurty; Editing by Kevin Liffey,
Philippa Fletcher, Frances Kerry and Eric Walsh, Bernard Orr)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.