New grand jury details fill in blanks in Michael Brown shooting case

For the first time Friday, Americans heard what was said to be police officer Darren Wilson‘s version of what happened inside his vehicle on the day he shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

The New York Times report detailed what the officer told a grand jury, according to unnamed government officials, but stopped short of explaining what happened outside the patrol car.

It didn’t take long to fill the void.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that a source said Wilson told the grand jury he got out of his vehicle to chase Brown and shot the teen when he turned back and charged him.

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According to the source, Wilson described a desperate struggle inside the car, where he was almost knocked unconscious by Brown, whom he described as incredibly strong — Brown was 6 feet, 4 inches and 292 pounds at the time of his death, according to autopsy reports.

Wilson said he pulled his gun and the two began to struggle for control of the weapon. He said he tried to fire the gun a number of times, but it didn’t fire — presumably because Brown’s hand was on the hammer.  Wilson did get two shots off inside the car, striking Brown once in the hand.

The officer said Brown ran after being shot, but when he got out to give chase, Brown stopped and turned to face him. The Post-Dispatch reported:

Wilson said Brown had not had his hands up; his left hand was slightly out, fingers pointing down. His right hand was grasping his shirt. Then, Wilson told investigators, Brown began running toward him.

Wilson said he had yelled for Brown to stop, then fired, the source said. Brown flinched as if he was hit, and Wilson said he had stopped shooting. Brown continued running toward him, and Wilson said he had fired several more shots. The source said that Wilson had recalled that Brown’s head was down when the last shot hit him there.

When Brown fell to the ground, his forward momentum caused his feet to fly up, Wilson said.

Autopsy reports are consistent with parts of Wilson’s reported testimony, but the account contradicts the testimony of several witnesses.

The Brown family lawyer Anthony Gray told the Post-Dispatch that Wilson’s alleged version of events was “absurd from beginning to end.”

The New York Times reported that officials said the evidence does not warrant civil rights charges against Wilson, but the Post-Dispatch does not address the likelihood of charges being filed.

 

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Tom Tillison

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