Michael Brown shooting: Ferguson officer Darren Wilson was ‘doing his job’ says growing band of supporters

Darren Wilson has received death threats since shooting the 18-year-old, but locals are speaking out on his behalf

ferguson, missouri

On the streets of Ferguson, a community racked by racial unrest, police officer Darren Wilson is vilified by protesters for shooting and killing an unarmed black man.

Away from the front lines, however, a growing band of supporters is starting to speak up for the white policeman, saying he is being unjustly attacked for doing his job.

Mr Wilson, who is under investigation for shooting 18?year-old Michael Brown on 9 August, has been in hiding since the incident brought to a boil simmering racial tension in the St Louis suburb. Police have released little information about the 28-year-old officer whose own police chief described him as a gentle and quiet man.

A grand jury has begun hearing evidence to determine whether he should be charged in Mr Brown’s death. A spokesman for the St Louis county prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, said there was no timeline for the process, but it could take weeks.

The US Attorney General, Eric Holder, has sought to build confidence in the investigation into the death of Mr Brown. Mr Holder, who is black, said on Wednesday he understands why many black Americans do not trust the police and that he had experienced the same frustrations. He described being stopped twice on the New Jersey Turnpike and accused of speeding. Police searched his car, looking through the boot and under the seats.

“I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me,” he said during a meeting with about 50 community leaders at the St Louis Community College.


Tensions appeared to have eased in Ferguson, enough at least for Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to order the National Guard to begin withdrawing from the town.

Meanwhile, at Barney’s Sports Bar in St Louis, where a weekend rally in support of Mr Wilson is planned, patrons at the establishment, owned by a police officer, said they worried that he was not being given the benefit of the doubt.

“I think he’s innocent until proven guilty. In fact, I know. That’s the constitution,” Paul Beauregard Morton, who works in financial services, said as he sat at the bar. “I’m going to wait until the facts come out. That’s what everyone should be doing.”

For many protesters in Ferguson, a mostly black suburb, Mr Wilson is emblematic of a predominantly white police force that they say targets blacks, treating them like second-class citizens. Near the spot where Mr Brown was killed, a man held a placard on Wednesday bearing pictures of Mr Wilson and reading: “We demand justice.” But at the “I Support Officer Wilson” Facebook site, which had more than 50,000 “likes” this week, most people posting comments saw Mr Wilson as being caught in a risky situation where he was acting in a professional manner.

One Facebook user, Kevin Chicwak, wrote that Mr Wilson and the Ferguson Police Department were being found guilty without due process “by the liberal media”. Mr Chicwak wrote: “My family and I stand by them. Keep the faith.” But the site has also been riddled with racially charged comments, prompting the organisers to warn that anything that crossed the line into hate speech would be deleted.

The New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan said on its website it planned a fundraiser in Sullivan, Missouri, over the weekend and had members going to areas near Ferguson to guard white businesses.

Meanwhile, more than 2,000 people have contributed about $85,000 (£51,000) to a site on gofundme.com, offering financial support to Mr Wilson. He has faced death threats and has not spoken publicly about why he fired multiple shots at the teenager after a confrontation in the street near his squad car.

People describing themselves as friends of Mr Wilson have tried to present a different narrative to deflect blame from the officer on television and radio. “He’s a really quiet guy,” one friend, who asked not to be named, told ABC News. “He’s just really well-mannered. He’s very respectful.”


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine