One year after he fatally shot Michael Brown on a street in Ferguson, Mo., former police officer Darren Wilson said that the tragedy made him unemployable but that he would like to return to the Ferguson force “one day.”
Wilson told The New Yorker he has sought another police job but has routinely been told he would be a liability.
“It’s too hot an issue, so it makes me unemployable,” he told the magazine. Wilson said that after a grand jury cleared him, he wanted to rejoin Ferguson’s police force but was told that might put other officers at risk.
“They put that on me,” Wilson said. He said he worked for two weeks at a boot store, but quit when reporters called the store. “No matter what I do, they try to get a story off of it,” he told The New Yorker.
Asked what he would do if Ferguson police offered him his job back, he said he would do it for one day so people would not view him as “defeated.”
Wilson, 29, shot Brown, 18, following a scuffle Aug. 9. The shooting, and a grand jury decision not to charge Wilson, set off massive and sometimes violent protests across the nation. Jake Halpern, who wrote The New Yorker article, said he spent several days with Wilson at his home on the outskirts of St. Louis. Wilson lives with his wife, Barb, also a former Ferguson police officer, and their baby.
Wilson said that in the months following the shooting he had been preoccupied with the legal ramifications and overall tumult, and had not thought about who Brown really was.
“I only knew him for those forty-five seconds in which he was trying to kill me,” Wilson said.
The Justice Department issued a report on the shooting that found Wilson did not violate Brown’s civil rights, and that Wilson’s use of force was reasonable. But it also issued a report describing the justice system of Ferguson as racist.
Wilson said the department had a few bigoted members, but rejected the idea of institutional racism. The Justice Department’s numbers were “skewed … you can make those numbers fit whatever agenda you want,” he said.
He dismissed the assertion that the underlying problem in Ferguson was the lack of quality jobs. He said young people in Ferguson share a “pre-gang culture, where you are just running in the streets — not worried about working in the morning” and not feeling compelled to get a job.
“There’s a lack of jobs everywhere,” he said. “But there’s also lack of initiative to get a job. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
He acknowledged that the available jobs often paid poorly, but added, “That’s how I started. You’ve got to start somewhere.”
Ferguson police left Michael Brown’s body in the 90 degree heat, uncovered for over 2 hours before paramedics or forensics arrived on the scene. Many believe these two hours were used to “get Officer Wilsons story together”.
Source: USA Today