Darren Wilson has initiated talks to resign from the Ferguson police force, reports say. Wilson, a six-year veteran of the police with a clean disciplinary record, is at the center of a Missouri grand jury hearing as to whether he will be charged in the August 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Brown’s shooting has roiled black communities across the U.S., with violent protests ramping up as America anxiously awaits a tense decision.
Writes CNN on Nov. 20: “Wilson maintains he hasn’t done anything wrong, and the resignation talks have hinged on whether a grand jury returns an indictment against him in the death of Brown, people close to the talks said.” Officer Wilson said he would leave the police in order to take the focus off an already embattled Ferguson and St. Louis police force that came under nationwide scrutiny for what some saw as blanket heavy-handed tactics in dealing with both violent looters and peaceful protestors.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that even if the jury decides not to indict Wilson on any charges, its likely that Wilson’s career as a Ferguson police officer is over. “I don’t see it happening,” Chief Jackson said, referring to Wilson’s return and calling it only a “personal matter” when pressed as to Wilson’s reasoning.
Recent surveys show that opinions, not surprisingly, are falling in line with race. Writes the CS Monitor: “Public opinion polls suggest that, if the grand jury endorses no indictment against Wilson, black Americans will generally view it as a case of justice denied, while white Americans will generally see it as justice served. One mid-September poll of St. Louis County residents, for example, found 7 in 10 blacks saying Wilson should be charged with a crime and an equal share of whites saying the opposite.”
Meanwhile, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has already called in the National Guard and declared a state of emergency. If Wilson, who is in seclusion because of multiple death threats, is released without being charged, officials are hoping for the best, but realistically expecting the city to once again implode in lootings, riots and violent protests – this despite Michael Brown Sr. pleading with his community for calm no matter what result comes out of the hearing.
“Hurting others and destroying others is not the answer,” Brown says in a video. “No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son’s death to be in vain. I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone.”
Gun sales in Ferguson are skyrocketing, as more citizens are arming and looking to protect themselves ahead of the Grand Jury’s decision. Paul Bastean, owner of the Ultimate Defense Firing Range just over the river from Ferguson, said he used to sell only three to five guns per day. Those numbers have increased to a whopping 20 to 30 guns being transacted daily.
“People are buying guns for security to a point where they feel the need to defend themselves against one or more attackers,” Bastean said. “We have people coming in every day who two years ago, or two months ago, would never have considered owning a firearm.”
See also: Michael Brown — Does the media use inflammatory pics to send a racist message?
Sound off below: What are your thoughts on what’s happening in Ferguson? Do you expect to see a surge in violence? Will Darren Wilson be indicted, and do you agree that he should resign even if he is not?