The police officer at the center of the Michael Brown controversy in Ferguson, Missouri told investigators he was assaulted by the 18-year-old moments before fatally shooting him.
Police officers in riot gear hold a line as they watch demonstrators protest the shooting death of Michael Brown and 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr. at a QuikTrip convince store and gas station October, 12 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (AFP PHOTO/Joshua Lott)
According to the New York Times, which published the first public account of the testimony, officer Darren Wilson struggled with Brown during the brief scuffle that left the Ferguson resident dead.
From the Times:
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.
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.
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.
As the Times noted, Wilson's account contradicts others which allege he shot an unarmed Brown that had placed his hands over his head to surrender.
The 18-year-old's death ignited controversy in the Missouri suburb, with weeks of protests often peppered with illegal behavior, such as looting, following his death.
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