Civil rights leader Al Sharpton Saturday rejected a report that police Officer Darren Wilson feared for his life when he shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown last summer in Ferguson, Mo., the New York Daily News reports.
During a speech Saturday at the Harlem-based headquarters of his National Action Network, Sharpton accused officials of trying to sway public opinion in the officer’s favor. He also cited the death of Eric Garner, the Staten Island, N.Y., man who died last July after cops placed him in a choke hold. Evidence in both cases is being presented to grand juries to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.
“Darren Wilson said he was in fear of his life,” Sharpton said, the newspaper writes. “The only gun there was Darren Wilson’s.”
The blowback follows a New York Times report Friday that Wilson told federal investigators that Brown, 18, pushed him into his SUV and reached for his gun on Aug. 9. The shooting touched off continuing protests over violence by white police officers against minorities, especially unarmed black men.
“You are asking me to believe that a young man that was shot and knew he didn’t have a gun ran back at you, in toward a gun that already shot him?” he asked, according to the News.
Wilson told investigators that he was pinned in his vehicle and was in fear for his life as he struggled with Brown over his gun. The gun was fired twice in the car, according to forensics tests performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the report says, with the first bullet striking Brown in the arm; the second bullet missed.
His version of events fails to explain why Wilson fired at Brown multiple times after emerging from his vehicle. Nor does it align with some witness accounts or explain why an unarmed man was shot a total of six times, the report says.
“It is imperative, from Ferguson to Staten Island, that we let them know that we are not going to allow anything but a fair and just hearing of the evidence,” Sharpton said, the paper says.
Read more at the New York Daily News.