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Officer Darren Wilson resigns from Ferguson police force

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Posted at 7:25 PM, Nov 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-30 09:00:35-05

(CNN) — Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot an unarmed teenager in August, has resigned from the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, his attorney, Neil Bruntrager, confirmed to CNN Saturday night.

The resignation comes five days after a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. The shooting of Brown, who was 18 and unarmed, sparked worldwide protests. The announcement Monday of no indictment triggered another round of demonstrations that continued through the week and into the weekend.

Wilson had been on paid administrative leave since the incident.

Darren Wilson grand jury testimony, evidence photos released

Wilson, 28, cited security fears in his letter of resignation, which was published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Wilson’s resignation letter reads:

“I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. 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.

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. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process.”

Wilson had been a member of the Ferguson Police Department for six years.

On Tuesday, Wilson told ABC News that Brown was the aggressor in the minutes before the shooting. In an account that generally mirrored his testimony before the grand jury, Wilson said Brown had attacked him while the officer sat in his car, then fled. Wilson said he chased after Brown until Brown turned back toward him, refusing Wilson’s commands to stop.

Wilson denied some witnesses’ claims that Brown had had his hands up when he was fatally shot. “That would be incorrect,” Wilson said.

As Brown approached, Wilson said, he warned Brown to stop. When he didn’t stop, Wilson fired his handgun.

“I had to. If I don’t, he will kill me if he gets to me,” Wilson said.

Brown, who had been hit, continued to come toward Wilson, the officer said. Wilson fired again and began backing away.

“He gets to about 8 or 10 feet, and as he does that he kind of starts to lean forward, like he’s going to tackle me. And I look down the barrel of my gun and I fired and what I saw was his head, and that’s where (the bullet) went.”

Wilson’s lawyer, Bruntrager, told CNN that Wilson had been in hiding since days after the shooting, when he received a phone call while mowing the grass at his house.

“He had to leave the grass literally halfway mowed and he had to go into hiding because there are death threats against him, there are bounties on his head,” he said.

Missouri governor seeks special session

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called for a special state legislative session to address “critical funding” needs for the National Guard and state police after violent protests in Ferguson this week.

In a late-night call with state legislative leaders Friday night, Nixon highlighted the session’s urgency to ensure Guard members are paid on December 15, his office said in a statement.

“Time is of the essence,” he said.

“It is vital that we act quickly so that we can fulfill our obligation to the men and women who are so bravely and capably serving their fellow citizens.”

This fiscal year’s budget allots $4 million for the state’s National Guard emergency response and $3.4 million for the Missouri agency that handles emergency expenses, including the state troopers, according to the governor.

It’s unclear how much more money is needed. The fiscal year ends in June.

Nixon’s call came as tensions returned to Ferguson streets late Friday night after a Thanksgiving lull.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets this week amid anger over a grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager.

15 of 16 arrested from outside Missouri

That fury was rawest right after the decision was announced, but it hasn’t gone away.

In fact, hundreds more protesters turned out late Friday after a quiet Thanksgiving, clashing with officers and National Guard troops outside the Ferguson Police Department.

“Who do you protect, who do you serve?” protesters chanted as they faced off with police. Others yelled “I pay you!”

As protesters stepped into the street, authorities rushed across to take them into custody — pulling some to the ground and shackling them with plastic zip-tie cuffs.

At least 16 people were arrested, including one facing a charge of assault on a law enforcement officer. One officer was injured, police said.

Notably, just one of those arrested was from Missouri, with nine from New York, three from in and around Chicago, two from California and one from Iowa, according to police.

Organizers had called for a Black Friday shopping boycott, forcing the St. Louis Galleria Mall to shut down temporarily on the busiest shopping day of the year.

Officials in St. Louis urged Galleria retailers to bring down security gates after several hundred protesters entered the mall and disrupted shopping.

Protesters chanted “Hands up, don’t shop,” while others lay on the floor in a “die-in.”

If supporters did shop, they were told to take their money to black-owned businesses, some of which were listed on social media. Wilson is white; Brown was black.

Nationwide protests

The protests have spread beyond Ferguson.

Nationwide demonstrations included service disruptions at an Oakland, California, transit station and a march in New York City.

Protesters in Seattle clashed with authorities as well, prompting police to use pepper spray.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray appealed for calm.

“I support the First Amendment rights of protesters, but violence against property or police officers will not be tolerated in our city,” he said.

In Oakland, major delays were reported at a BART train station because of “civil unrest,” according to a service advisory.

Protesters chanted “Which side are you on?” and “Black lives matter” at BART officers.