Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson has given his first media interview since he fatally shot Michael Brown nearly four months ago.
In the exclusive interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Wilson talked about what happened after, he said, he asked Michael Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson to move out of the middle of Canfield Drive, August 9. The first segment of that interview has aired on ABC’s World News Tonight.
“I had gone to open the door and get out of the car and when I did so, as I opened the door I said, ‘Hey, come here for a minute,'” Wilson said. “That’s when [Brown] turned and said, ‘What the [expletive] are you going to do about it?’ and slammed my door shut on me.”
Wilson says he attempted to push Brown back with the door and Brown pushed it shut again, “and as I looked back at him, all of a sudden, punches start flying.”
Asked by Stephanopoulos to confirm whether he said Brown threw the first punch, Wilson says, “Yes.”
Wilson said Brown punched him on the side of the face, and said after that he was fearful for his survival. He said it was after that he pulled his gun and pointed it at Brown, and told him to get back or Wilson would shoot him.
“His response, immediately, he grabbed the top of my gun, and when he grabbed it he said, ‘You’re too much of a [expletive] to shoot me,’ and while he’s doing that I can feel his hand trying to come over my hand and get inside the trigger guard, and try and shoot me with my own gun. That’s when I pulled the trigger for the first time,” said Wilson.
He said the gun didn’t go off and was being jammed by Brown’s hand on top of it. He said he pulled the trigger a second time, “and again another click, and this time I’m like, ‘This has to work otherwise I’m going to be dead. He’s going to get this gun away from me, something’s going to happen and I’m going to be dead, so I pull a third time and it finally goes off.”
Wilson said after that Brown became angrier, and Wilson raised his gun and fired another shot.
He said he called for help and then gave chase to Brown, who he said stopped running and turned to face Wilson.
“As he does that his right hand immediately does to his waistband and his left hand is a fist at his side, and he starts charging me,” Wilson said, saying that made him question whether Brown had a weapon in his waistband.
Stephanopoulos tells Wilson, “As you know, some of the eyewitnesses have said when, at that moment he turned around, he turned around and put his hands up.”
“That would be uncorrect. Incorrect,” Wilson told the reporter.
Wilson said Brown then began to run toward him.
“At that time I gave myself another mental check, ‘Can I shoot this guy? Legally, can I?'” Brown said. “The question I answered myself was, ‘I have to. If I don’t, he will kill me if he gets to me.”
“Even though he’s what, 35, 40 feet away?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Once he’s coming that direction, if he hasn’t stopped yet, when’s he going to stop?” Wilson asked in reply.
The officer continued, “After he’s coming at me and I decided to shoot I fired a series of shots and paused.” Wilson said Brown flinched, and he judged at least one of the rounds had hit him.
“After that I paused and I again yell, ‘Stop, get on the ground,’ giving him the opportunity to stop, and he ignored all the commands and he just kept running, and so after he kept running again I shot another series of shots, and at least one of those hit him because I saw the flinch.”
Wilson said Brown was about 15 feet from him and still coming, so the officer began backpedaling.
“He gets to about eight to ten 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 it went.”
“Right in the top of his head,” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Yes,” Wilson replied.
Stephanopoulos asked Wilson if he is absolutely convinced that if Michael Brown had been white, that the encounter would have played out the same way.
“Yes,” says Wilson. “No question.”
Wilson told Stephanopoulos he is sorry for the loss of life but would not do anything differently.
“You have a very clean conscience,” Stephanopoulos observed during the interview.
Wilson replied, “The reason I have a clean conscience, ’cause I know I did my job right.”
Wilson is still on paid administrative leave from the Ferguson Police Department.
ABC will air more segments from the hour-and-a-half long interview in future broadcasts.