World Bulletin/News Desk
The white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer, resigned from the force without any severance deal, 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 said at a news conference in which he outlined new incentives to bring more African-Americans into the Ferguson police force.
The fatal shooting of the unarmed teenager has galvanized critics of the way police and the U.S. criminal justice system treat African-Americans and other minority groups, and led to months of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and major cities around the country.
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.
The mayor said he had not asked for Wilson's resignation, and even though the officer expressed an interest "in a future here," Knowles said he wanted the city to turn a page.
"I think it is best that we continue to move on as a community," Knowles said.
The mayor 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.
"We need to look at how this will not happen again in the future," he said. "There are a lot of issues that have to be addressed."
Wilson resigned after Tom Jackson, Ferguson's police chief, told him there had been credible threats against the department, Neil Bruntrager, the former officer's attorney, said.
"When Darren was told that, he simply said, 'That's enough,' and it was time to resign," Bruntrager said.
In a letter published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Wilson said he had wanted to wait until after the grand jury's decision before deciding whether to quit.
Even so, his departure was long anticipated because of the potential risks to his own safety and the deep rifts that have surfaced between Ferguson's police and the African-American community since the shooting.
Some critics now want the police chief to resign as well, to promote reconciliation in the St. Louis suburb, where most residents are black and the police force is mostly white.
During the news conference in Ferguson, Jackson said he had no plans to resign, and the mayor said no changes in the department's leadership were in the works.
"My focus has been on the safety of the city of Ferguson and its citizens," Jackson said, when asked how he felt about the calls for his resignation.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, a prominent African-American civil rights activist, was likely to speak about the case in a sermon on Sunday at the church in Ferguson where Michael Brown's funeral was held. Brown's parents were expected to attend.Last Mod: 30 Kasım 2014, 22:47