Former Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson granted the second of two major interviews since gunning down Mike Brown last August. To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the unarmed teen’s death, The New Yorker published an extensive piece depicting Wilson as a victim.
The word “victim” doesn’t appear in the piece, which seems to have only a small amount of quotes from Wilson, and second-hand narratives about his upbringing, experience on the force, and shooting Brown.
He’s just like any All-American guy, according to The New Yorker. Wilson is former Boy Scout, whose mom used to write bad checks, but he somehow made it through the storm and onto the police force. These days, he’s laying low, without employment, and has a new baby:
During our conversations, Wilson typically sat in a recliner, holding his baby daughter, who was born in March. He said that, after Brown’s death, people “had made threats about doing something to my unborn child.” Wilson, a former Boy Scout with round cheeks and blue eyes, speaks with a muted drawl. When Barb went to the hospital to give birth, he said, “I made her check in anonymously.”
The story also notes Wilson was trained to work in a predominately Black community by an Irish-American guy, who happens to be gay. That last part isn’t even important to the story, but let’s assume it was added so as to depict Wilson as a liberal and non-discriminatory individual, who wanted to work in Ferguson because he thought black people were “fun” (and thought it would help his career).
While the Ferguson Police Department has already been exposed for blatant discrimination, being that “ninety-four per cent of the people arrested in Ferguson for ‘failure to comply’ were black,” based on the article, Wilson is an exception to the rule. Although there are four documented instances where he performed “pedestrian checks,” which is equivalent to the stop-and-frisk policy of police searching people, typically Black and Latino, without probable cause.
The now ex-cop talked about arresting a man for “failure to comply” when all he did was question why Wilson wanted him to take his hands out of his pockets in the freezing cold (the man was within his rights to do so, the article notes). Wilson did however tell The New Yorker that the department had exploited the use of “failure to comply” because it was “an easy way to arrest someone.”
Brown’s father is also interviewed as well a cousin, a witness to the teen’s shooting, Wilson’s wife, his former co-worker, and some academics to give insight on the subject of racism and police brutality.
Wilson doesn’t speak much about Brown, because he’s being sued by the teen’s parents and therefore doesn’t want to say anything that could get spun out of context. He does think about Brown though, because he has no choice:
“You do realize that his parents are suing me?” he said. “So I have to think about him.” He went on, “Do I think about who he was as a person? Not really, because it doesn’t matter at this point. Do I think he had the best upbringing? No. Not at all.” His tone was striking, given Wilson’s own turbulent childhood.
You can read the full interview here (there’s a subscription fee). See more excerpts in the gallery.
Photo: AP Photo