Officer Darren Wilson, the cop who shot dead an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9, has stayed publicly silent as waves of violent protests rocked the St. Louis suburb in which the shooting occurred.
But on Tuesday, the Daily Mail published messages that Wilson allegedly sent to his friend, Jake Shepard, offering the public a possible glimpse into the life of the embattled cop.
According to the messages, Wilson is living in fear for his life under 24-hour guard.
"The support is really keeping me going during this stressful time. Just stay safe. I appreciate all you have done," Wilson wrote in one message, before adding, "I can't go out."
Wilson also thanked Shepard for his Friday appearance on CNN to defend Wilson's reputation.
Shepard told the Daily Mail that he's known Wilson for 14 years and that the cop always had "pure intentions."
"It's sad for Mike Brown and his family," Shepard said, wondering if the shooting needed to have happened. "Darren [Wilson] could have just Tasered him and Mike would have spent six months in jail or something and maybe got his act together after that. Darren could have gone on with his life too but now both of their lives are over. It sucks."
Shepard noted that Wilson faces a unique struggle.
"I'm sure Mike's family is having a hard time but at least they have the support of the whole nation behind them, openly," he said. "Darren doesn't get that."
The shooting will be a permanent stain on Wilson, Shepard said, whether or not he's found to have been justified in his actions.
"People are very suspicious of law enforcement as it is and something like this happens you will always be remembered as the cop who murdered Mike Brown, regardless of what happens at trial or if he's ever charged or fired," he added.
His friend's job and reputation will likely never be restored.
"Obviously he's not going to be able to be a cop over there [in Ferguson] any more," Shepard said. "He’s going to have to resign but there's always going to be a negative connotation to his name, and it sucks. He doesn't deserve that."
According to Shepard, Wilson is living under guard in an undisclosed location, likely in the St. Louis area.
The friend's conversation with the Daily Mail came on the heels of several other key developments that, taken together, have lended some credibility to Wilson's case.
On Monday, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter said that police have heard from more than a dozen witnesses who corroborated Wilson's account of the shooting.
Over the weekend, a video surfaced in which an apparent eyewitness echoes the claim that Brown attacked Wilson and the results of a private autopsy were released, showing that Brown was shot six times — all in the front.
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