Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson - in an exclusive interview with ABC News - recounted his fatal encounter with 18-year-old Michael Brown.
I've deliberately held back from voicing an opinion about this shooting, because we just didn't have any idea at ALL what happened that night. There were many statements from so-called 'eye-witnesses' ... many of whom either changed their stories or refused to discuss their previous statements when questioned by both police and media.
Now we have the public statement from the officer involved in the shooting.
Personally, I think three things:
It wasn't Murder.
It wasn't even an arrest.
It was survival.
First: Officer Wilson must have been terrified by the attack on him by a huge man who seemed to hold no fear of being shot; a man who nearly took his gun away from him. When someone tries to take your gun, there's no doubt what the next move will be. That "gentle giant" intended to turn the officers gun against him. The only reason that Brown didn't manage to disarm and then murder the officer was that one of the random shots during the struggle in the car did hit Brown. That may have been an "Owie" that led Brown to (temporarily) wander away.
Second: The account attributes no great qualities of competence to Officer Wilson. He barely held his own during the struggle in the car. After his attacker retreated, though, Wilson was able to re-confront his attacker and attempt to arrest him. Well ... that's his job. No LEO worth his salt is going to allow a violent felon to just walk away. Wilson HAD called for back-up ("Shots Fired"), and his duty then was to detain his attacker.
Third: After Brown had time to realize that he wasn't badly wounded, merely hurt, and then (just my impression) he got mad. We have seen from the videos in the bodega that he used his size and power to intimidate people. He was on a roll; he considered himself too powerful to be dissuaded by a little pain. He ignored legal commands to stop. He ignored being shot at repeatedly, and his adrenaline-fueled rush toward the police officer was like the charge of a bull elephant; unstoppable by anything less than a mortal wound.
Wilson shot several times at Brown at the beginning of his rush ... and then, knowing that he had hit him at least once, the LEO paused to see of the new wound(s) would cause him to hesitate.
Brown didn't stop. As Brown continued his rush toward Wilson, the cop tried again.
Wilson shot, hitting Brown again .. but Brown was determined not to stop until he got within grappling distance of the officer. He knew that if he could reach the cop, he could
Finally at the eight-to-ten feet distance, Wilson fired a final shot, hitting him in the head.
And the Raging Bull dropped, literally, at his feet.
I can't see how Officer Wilson could have done anything else, other than to have allowed Brown to walk away.
In fact, if Brown had continued to walk away after having been commanded to STOP .. this incident might have turned out differently.
But Brown would not ... could not ... allow the challenge to go unanswered. Instead, he turned and rushed the officer.
I cannot imagine how Officer Wilson could have responded otherwise. He had been repeatedly attacked, and his only alternative would have been to allow Brown to close and brutalize him, which would probably have ended up with Wilson dead.
And so, the good citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, loot businesses and burn their own city.
Martin Luther King would be so proud of you! (NOT!)
UPDATE: (November 27, 2014)
The text of the interview of Officer Wilson immediately after the shooting. (PDF available, but not here) This is the "post-action" review conducted by the police department.
The comments in the public interview seem to be fully supported by the contents of the 'immediate' police shooting review. That text would, of course, be available to Officer Wilson before he made his public statement.
Personal note: I've been involved in an 'immediate action' review, in the army, while operating in Viet Nam. I can attest that I was, at the time, very shaken ... and this occurred (in my experience) one day AFTER the the action occurred. When in this situation, I was a regular Chatty Cathy and I didn't have a single thought but to report the entire circumstances of the battle, my thoughts at the time, and anything else else which my Commander seemed to want. It's difficult to come up with a 'cover story' when your teeth start chattering as soon as you begin to relive the moments of sheer terror which happened so recently.