Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson Resigns

     FERGUSON, Mo. (CN) – Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer at the center of the Michael Brown shooting controversy has resigned, citing threats of violence if he remained on the force.
     Wilson’s resignation was effective immediately Saturday, his attorney said.
     Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said Sunday that Wilson will receive a severance package. Knowles also announced plans to increase minority hiring on the police force, open a dialogue between residents and law enforcement and to encourage police officers to live in Ferguson.
     Wilson, 28, fatally shot the 18-year-old Brown on Aug. 9. The shooting generated daily, sometimes violent protests against police.
     When a St. Louis County grand jury announced on Nov. 24 that it would not indict Wilson for the shooting, protesters burned buildings and dozens of vehicles, including several police cars.
     While the violence has subsided, Wilson said that he decided to resign of his own free will after the Ferguson police department told him of threats of violence ensuing if he stayed on the force.
     “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,” Wilson’s resignation letter states. “For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal.”
          While the violence ended, protests continued throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. On Black Friday, protesters shut down three shopping malls in St. Louis County and another one on Saturday. Protesters were also present outside the Edward Jones Dome at the end of the Rams’ 52-0 win over Oakland on Sunday.
     Five Rams players – Kenny Britt, Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens and Jared Cook – made the “Hands up, Don’t shoot” hand signal during the starting lineup announcement before the game.
     The demonstration drew the ire of local police groups. The St. Louis Police Officers Association demanded an apology from the NFL and wants the players punished.
     “Now that the evidence is in and Officer Wilson’s account has been verified by physical and ballistic evidence as well as eyewitness testimony, which led the grand jury to conclude that no probable cause existed that Wilson engaged in an wrongdoing, it is unthinkable that hometown athletes would so publicly perpetuate a narrative that has been disproven over-and-over again,” SLPOA spokesman Jeff Roorda said in a statement.
     A Rams team spokesman told KSDK-TV that the team was not aware that the demonstration was going to happen.

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