Ferguson officer’s resignation draws more controversy – USA TODAY
Reaction was as fierce as it was mixed to the news that the white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed, black teen resigned from the Ferguson, Mo., police force.
Darren Wilson resigned effective immediately Saturday, five days after a St. Louis County grand jury decided Wilson would not face charges in the death of Michael Brown.
Patricia Bynes, a Democratic committeewoman in Ferguson, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the resignation is too little, too late.
“It doesn’t even have the same impact that it would have months ago,” she said. “It would have relieved a lot of anger and the pressure in the streets.”
Bynes tweeted this: “The reality is that after all that has happened Wilson is a tiny drop in a big bucket. We have much bigger fish to fry.”
Ferguson protester Deray McKesson tweeted: “Darren Wilson is not in jail, as he should be. His resignation is not enough, his resignation is important but not justice.”
Ferguson resident Reed Voorhees was supportive of Wilson, saying he hoped Wilson could find similar work “someplace where he would enjoy life, and move on with his life.”
Ferguson officials said they would publicly react to Wilson’s resignation later Sunday. Brown’s parents were planning to attend a church service where civil rights activist Al Sharpton was scheduled to speak. The venue: Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, the church where Brown’s funeral was held.
“We were not after Wilson’s job,” Sharpton said in a statement. “We were after Michael Brown’s justice.”
Wilson, 28, had been on paid administrative leave since shooting Brown, 18, following a brief confrontation on a Ferguson street Aug. 9. The shooting set off months of sometimes violent protests.
Scores of protesters demonstrated outside Ferguson police headquarters Saturday night. An American flag was burned and two arrests were made. But the gathering didn’t have the same outrage that marked the first nights after the grand jury announced Monday that Wilson would not face charges.
Not far from the protest, resident Victoria Rutherford said she believed Wilson’s resignation was not enough, that he should have been convicted of a crime. “I’m upset. I have a 16-year-old son. (Michael Brown) could’ve been him. I feel that he was absolutely in the wrong,” she said.
Wilson’s decision drew plenty of ire on social media, even among people who were glad to see him gone.
Sonia Faleiro, a New Dehli journalist, tweeted: “Only in America: killer escapes jail time, quits job, demands severance package.”
But others wished Wilson well. Tweeted @jbrownlee from Peoria, Ariz.: “I wish #DarrenWilson the best in his next endeavor! God bless you and your wife! #DarrenWilsonResigns”
Victor Warden of South Carolina tweeted: “Shameful that #Darren Wilson, a good officer, resigns bcuz of the racist and hateful actions of ppl who want justice 4 a criminal!”
Wilson, who recently married Ferguson Officer Barbara Spradling, was a six-year veteran with an annual salary of $45,302. He told the Post-Dispatch he had not received a severance package, although he said he may try to negotiate one.
In his resignation letter, Wilson said staying on the force might have “put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow.” He said he waited for the grand jury to announce his decision, and had hoped to continue in police work.
“It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process,” Wilson said.
Contributing: Associated Press