Officer Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who was just cleared by a grand jury in the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown, has spoken for the first time since the Aug. 9 shooting — and he has no regrets about the death that has torn the town apart.
In a 90-minute interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Wilson told the anchor that after approaching Brown about a robbery, the teen slammed the door of Wilson's squad car into him, then threw a punch.
"He hit me in the left side of my face," he told Stephanopoulos. "I don't know what or how many he hit me after that, I just know there was a barrage of swinging and grabbing and pulling for about ten seconds [sic]."
It was upon grabbing Brown's forearm that he realized "the immense power that he had." Wilson, who is 6'4" and weighs 210 pounds but describes himself as "above average" in size, describes it as "a 5-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan. That's just how big this man was."
Watch the first clip:
After being struck in the face, Wilson says that he drew his firearm and told Brown, "Get back or I'm gonna shoot you," to which Brown allegedly responded, "You're too much of a pussy to shoot me."
That's when he pulled the trigger for the first time — but it didn't go off. "The gun was actually being jammed by his hand on top of the firearm." He pulled the trigger two more times until the gun fired, after which, Brown "gets even angrier."
"His aggression, his face, the intensity just increases, and he comes back in at me again."
According to Wilson, that's when Brown started running away, and he exited his SUV. "My job isn't to just sit and wait," he explained to Stephanopoulos. "That's what we were trained to do."
After running a distance of "35-40 feet," Brown then turned around, with one hand in his pocket and another in a fist, according to Wilson. "He just starts charging me." Despite witness reports that Brown had his hands above his head when he turned around, Wilson says that there is "no way" that this happened. "I gave myself another mental check: Can I shoot this guy? Legally, can I? And the question that I answered myself was, I have to. If I don't, he will kill me if he gets to me [sic]."
It was at this time that Wilson fired "a series of shots." Brown "ignored all the commands, and he just kept running." After firing another series of shots, Brown got to within "8 to 10 feet" of Wilson, and leaned down as if to tackle him. This is when Wilson fired the final shot: "I looked down the barrel of my gun, and I fired, and what I saw was his head, and that's where it went."
The Ferguson Police Department has maintained for months that Brown was shot 35 feet from Wilson's SUV. An independent investigation spearheaded by DailyKos reporter Shaun King determined that the actual difference was 148 feet. Stephanopoulos does not address this discrepancy in the interview.
Asked if there was anything he could have done differently, Wilson maintains that he could not have. "I know I did my job right."
"I don't think it's a haunting. It's always going to be something that's happened."