Darren Wilson described shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown at least twice—first in an August police interview and again before a grand jury in September. But until today, only those involved in the case knew Wilson's version of the minute-long encounter that ended with Brown dead in the street.
In both versions of the story, Wilson (who is 6'4) paints Brown (also 6'4) as a large and threatening man who "looked like a demon" and made him fear for his life.
Wilson was first questioned about Michael Brown's death the day of the shooting in an interview which was not recorded. The grand jury was instead provided with a transcript from a second, follow-up interview, conducted a day later—this time, with Wilson's attorney present.
In the interview, Wilson told the unnamed detective questioning him that shortly after getting a call about a "stealing in progress" at the Ferguson Market, he drove past two black males walking down the middle of the street.
To hear Wilson tell it in the police interview, Brown began attacking him after he politely asked Brown and his friend to walk on the sidewalk.
Wilson says after they refused his directives, he "put the vehicle in reverse, backed up about ten feet to 'em, attempted to open my door."
Wilson tells the detective he attempted to open his door twice but was prevented both times by Brown, who he says pressed up against the car door and began striking him through the fully-open car window.
"I thought I was already compromised enough," Wilson said, explaining why he chose to draw his service weapon rather than mace, a taser, an asp, or a flashlight.
I drew my firearm, I pointed at him..."Stop I'm going to shoot you," is what I ordered him to get on the ground.
He said, "You're too much of a fuckin' pussy to shoot me" and grabbed my gun. When he grabbed my gun, he twisted it, pointed at me and into my hip, pelvic area.
Wilson tells the interviewing detective that after a struggle he was able to twist the gun around, unsuccessfully firing at Brown twice. The third shot stuck and the Wilson claimed the bullet struck his rolled-down window, causing glass to fly through the air.
After another prolonged struggle, Wilson says, Brown fled and Wilson exited the vehicle to pursue him. He tells the detective there was around a 20-foot gap between them when Brown "suddenly" turned around and charged at him.
In Wilson's words:
Later in the interview, Wilson claims he started backing up when Brown turned around.
The entire interaction with Brown—from start to finish, Wilson told the detective—took less than a minute.
Wilson described the shooting for the second time—now under oath—before the Ferguson grand jury September 16.
Retelling the story for the jury, Wilson notes one of the first things he noticed about Brown was that he was wearing a pair of bright yellow socks with marijuana leaves printed on them—a detail not mentioned in the initial interview.
This time around, he also emphasizes that he drew his weapon inside the car—rather than say, putting the car into drive—because he feared for his life.
The grand jury was reportedly presented with photographs of Wilson's face after the shooting where Wilson's injuries and bruising, if any, appear to be minimal.
"The only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan," Wilson, who is 6'4 and 210 pounds, said of Brown, who was also 6'4 and approximately 290.
During the grand jury proceedings, Wilson also elaborates on the "intense aggressive" face Brown made at him, telling the Assistant District Attorney, "The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that's how angry he looked."
In an incredibly rare move that indicated the jury saw no question of fact regarding any part of Wilson's story, the grand jury returned a no true bill declining to indict Wilson Monday.
And calling the grand jury's decision incredibly rare is hardly an exaggeration, as FiveThirtyEight points out:
Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to "indict a ham sandwich." The data suggests he was barely exaggerating: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.
[image via KTLA]