US police officer who shot teenager resigns

Darren Wilson’s decision comes just days after a grand jury declined to indict him for shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.

The white police officer who shot black teenager Michael Brown dead has resigned, nearly four months after the confrontation that prompted protests in the US city of St Louis and across the country.

Darren Wilson, 28, had been on administrative leave since the August 9 shooting.

Notes from the field:
Al Jazeera’s Daniel Lak in Ferguson, Missouri
Darren Wilson’s resignation has been widely anticipated.

Still, it’s likely that those in Ferguson who’ve been angered that Wilson wasn’t indicted will welcome his resignation.

It’s almost impossible to imagine him as a police officer patrolling a community that believes he’s guilty of at least the wrongful death of Michael Brown.

Civil rights activists have been calling for protests to focus now on changes in Missouri state law to restrict the use of deadly force by police and to explicitly outlaw racial profiling by officers.

That’s what marchers are calling for as they make their way 190km from Ferguson to the state capital Jefferson city over the next week.

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His resignation was announced on Saturday by one of his lawyers, Neil Bruntrager, the Associated Press news agency and local newspaper the St Louis Dispatch reported.

Bruntrager said the resignation was effective immediately.

“I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately,” the Dispatch newspaper quoted Wison’s resignation letter as saying on its website.

“I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the city of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow.”

A grand jury spent more than three months reviewing evidence in the case before this week declining to issue any charges against Wilson.

He told jurors that he feared for his life when Brown hit him and reached for his gun.

The US Justice Department is still conducting a civil rights investigation into the shooting and a separate probe of police department practices.

The shooting struck up a national debate about race and police power.

After the shooting, Wilson spent months in hiding and made no public statements.

He broke his silence after the grand jury decision, telling ABC News that he could not have done anything differently in the encounter with Brown.

Wilson said he has a clean conscience because “I know I did my job right”.

Brown’s shooting was the first time he fired his gun on the job, he said. Asked whether the encounter would have unfolded the same way if Brown had been white, Wilson said yes.

Activists from Ferguson on Saturday began a 190km march to the Missouri state capital to protest the killing.

Related: Michael Brown was not a boy, he was a ‘demon’

The seven-day march to Jefferson City, organised by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, began with more than 150 people setting out from the Canfield Green Apartments, where 18-year-old Brown was killed.

The NAACP is calling for a reform of police practices, a new police chief in Ferguson and a national law to prevent racial profiling by police.

The Journey for Justice, which is reminiscent of the civil rights marches of the 1960s, began with some people singing the decades-old protest song We Shall Overcome.

Participants carried signs proclaiming “Black Lives Matter” and “Equality Now!”

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies