FERGUSON, Mo. – Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson did not receive a severance package when he resigned over the weekend, the St. Louis suburb’s mayor said Sunday.
Wilson, 28, won’t receive any further pay or benefits, and he and the city have cut their ties, Mayor James Knowles told reporters a day after Wilson tendered his resignation, which was effective immediately.
Wilson, who is white, had been on administrative leave since he killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, during an Aug. 9 confrontation. A grand jury decided Monday not to indict him, sparking days of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and other cities.
Wilson wrote in his resignation letter that his “continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance I cannot allow.”
His lawyer, Neil Bruntrager, told the Associated Press that Wilson decided to step aside after police Chief Tom Jackson told him about the alleged threats on Saturday.
“The information we had was that there would be actions targeting the Ferguson (police) department or buildings in Ferguson related to the police department,” Bruntrager said. He said Wilson, who had worked for the department for less than three years, and the city were already discussing an exit strategy, acknowledging that Wilson staying on as an officer there would be impossible.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown’s family, said Wilson’s resignation was not a surprise.
“It was always believed that the police officer would do what was in his best interest, both personally and professionally,” Crump said. “We didn’t believe that he would be able to be effective for the Ferguson community nor the Ferguson Police Department because of the tragic circumstances that claimed the life of Michael Brown Jr.”
Crump said the family is still considering civil litigation such as a wrongful death lawsuit, “but don’t let that get confused with the fact that they really wanted the killer of their child to be held accountable.”
The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a civil rights investigation into the shooting and a separate investigation of police department practices. It isn’t clear when those results will be announced.
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