Revelations that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson may have been in fear for his life when he fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August have many people worried that Wilson won't be charged with a crime.
According to a report in the New York Times, Wilson told investigators that Brown shoved him and reached for his gun during a struggle through the driver-side window as Wilson was seated in his vehicle. Wilson further said that he feared for his life, which could be used to legally justify his use of lethal force.
Forensics tests conducted by the FBI reportedly show that the gun was fired twice in the car — the first bullet hitting Brown in the arm, the second missing him — and that Brown's blood was found on the gun, inside the car, and on Wilson's uniform.
Wilson then allegedly exited his vehicle and repeatedly fired at Brown as he ran away; Brown was shot a total of six times, including twice in the head. Some witnesses have reported that Brown had his hands up and told Wilson not to shoot.
Speaking to CNN, Ferguson resident and activist Angela Whitman said, "If [Michael Brown] struggled with this officer, this still does not justify why this child is not alive... If this young man did this, and struggled, that means he got free. And then witnesses said he turned around with his hands up. This kid should still be alive."
Wilson's account of the struggle could influence the St. Louis County grand jury, which will decide whether or not to indict him for the killing. Another Ferguson resident told CNN that the recent revelation was "clearly constructed and contrived to justify the killing of Mike Brown."
Rev. Al Sharpton, speaking at his National Action Network headquarters Saturday, echoed that skepticism: “You are asking me to believe that a young man that was shot and knew he didn’t have a gun ran back at you, in toward a gun that already shot him?”
Meanwhile, the residents of Ferguson are bracing for a new round of protests in the wake of the report. “I believe that when people have received [the Times] article and see what’s going on it will infuriate people and set us back,” said Rev. Carlon Lee, a Ferguson pastor, to the Daily Beast. “If there’s a non-indictment I think you’ll see an immediate uproar.” (CNN)