CNN’s Anderson Cooper is reporting that police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson MO on August 9, is purportedly in the final stages of preparing his resignation from the Ferguson police department.

Wilson, who has been in hiding for months following threats of violence against himself and his immediate family, has apparently been negotiating terms of resignation with the police department.

One key factor reportedly delaying his resignation prior to this point is that he preferred to wait to resign until after the Grand Jury had completed its deliberations, fearing that his resignation would make him appear guilty in their eyes.

Wilson had six years of unblemished service on the Ferguson Police Department before, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests, being viciously attacked by Michael Brown and Brown’s accomplice Dorian Johnson.

After Brown received a contact gun shot wound to the hand while trying to take Wilson’s service pistol, Brown fled a short distance before turning to attack the officer again.  It was during this renewed attack that Wilson was compelled to re-engage Brown with gun fire, ending the attack with a fatal gun shot wound to the head.

Officer Wilson has maintained throughout the investigation and Grand Jury proceedings that he has done nothing wrong.  Notably, Wilson voluntarily appeared before the Grand Jury and provided over four hours of personal testimony of the events of his fatal encounter with Brown, without legal counsel present.

Since the shooting, protestors have massed in #Ferguson, with early days of rioting, looting, and arson eventually giving way to lesser degrees of violence and ongoing community disruption.

The Grand Jury is widely anticipated to return a “no true bill” (no indictment) of Wilson, based on the evidence.  It is equally widely anticipated that protestors in Ferguson will use the lack of an indictment as an excuse for further acts of violence.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has already declared a state of emergency and activated National Guard personnel in an effort to minimize the harm expected to be caused by protestor violence.

My own prediction that the Grand Jury would release its decision this past Monday, when exceptionally cold weather gripped Ferguson, was in error.  The most current speculation currently in the news is that the Grand Jury is likely to release a result today.  I see no concrete evidence to support why this current speculation might be any better informed than my own erroneous guess.

CLARIFICATION: CNN separately reports that there is to be a 48-hour delay between the Grand Jury’s final decision on indictment and the public announcement of that decision, in order to give law enforcement time to prepare for the promised violence.   Thus, even if the Grand Jury makes it’s decision today, that decision should not be expected to be publicly released until before Sunday.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.