Why Darren Wilson Says He Shot Michael Brown

Inside the officer's Sept. 16 grand jury testimony
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2014 7:40 AM CST
Why Darren Wilson Says He Shot Michael Brown
This undated photo shows Officer Darren Wilson during his medical examination after he fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.   (AP Photo/St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office)

"You want me to just go with the whole thing?" So asked Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson near the start of his Sept. 16 grand jury testimony, per a transcript released last night. What follows is Wilson's explanation of what happened in the last minutes of Michael Brown's life:

  • Wilson says he first noticed two males walking down the middle of the street, obstructing traffic. "And the next thing I noticed was the size of the individuals because either the first one was really small or the second one was really big." He also made note of Brown's socks: "bright yellow ... [with] green marijuana leaves as a pattern on them."
  • He approached them and suggested they walk on the sidewalk. Brown's companion, Dorian Johnson, initially spoke to Wilson. But then Brown stepped in, saying, per Wilson, "F--- what you have to say." That line "drew my attention totally to Brown." It wasn't the "expected response from a simple request." The pair continued walking in the center of the road.

  • Wilson reversed toward them and started to open his door. Brown slammed it shut. Wilson pushed his door open again, telling Brown to "get the f--- back." Instead, Brown punched him. Wilson says he tried to hold on to Brown's right arm, but "I felt like a 5-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan." Brown then struck Wilson again. Wilson said he feared a third punch "could be fatal."
  • Wilson explained why he didn't use tear gas (he couldn't easily access it since his left hand was shielding his face; also, Brown's hands were in front of his face, which would have blocked the spray); that he didn't carry a Taser, and that his flashlight was too far away. So he drew his gun and threatened to shoot. Brown grabbed the gun and said, "You are too much of a pussy to shoot me," Wilson testified.
  • There was a struggle for the gun; Wilson says Brown tried to get his finger on the trigger. Wilson pulled the trigger. The gun just "clicked" twice; the third time, it fired, with the bullet going through his door panel. He says Wilson looked as angry as a "demon." The gun clicked several more times before firing once more.
  • Brown ran; Wilson followed, saying his main goal was "to keep eyes on him" and that he expected backup to arrive shortly. Wilson told Brown to get on the ground. "When he looked at me, he made like a grunting, like aggravated sound and he starts, he turns and he's coming back towards me. ... His right [hand] goes under his shirt in his waistband and he starts running at me. .. I remember having tunnel vision on his right hand."
  • Wilson shot two series of shots. Then he aimed at Brown's head. "I saw the last one go into him. ... The demeanor on his face went blank. ... The threat was stopped. When he fell, he fell on his face. And I remember his feet coming up, like he had so much momentum carrying him forward that when he fell, his feet kind of came up a little bit and then they rested." He then radioed for "every car you've got."
Read some eyewitnesses' testimony. (Read more Darren Wilson stories.)

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