Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, resigned from the Ferguson Police Department Saturday because he was told of "credible threats" to the department and officers — and the city has now “severed ties” with him.
Wilson's attorney, Neil Bruntrager, told NBC News that Wilson submitted his resignation "two minutes after" Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told him of the threats.
"The chief thought that if he resigned it would alleviate those threats," Bruntrager said, and "that was all [Wilson] needed to hear."
But Bruntrager stressed that Jackson didn't press Wilson to resign. "He was just making him aware of the information," the attorney said.
"It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of the paramount importance to me," Wilson wrote in his resignation letter.
Wilson doesn't expect to continue policing anywhere in the "immediate future," Bruntrager said. In the wake of Brown's death, and the tumultuous fallout, Wilson "doesn't have a plan," Bruntrager said, adding he will have to make one soon because "he has no income." Bruntrager said Wilson has no plans to leave the country.
Later on Sunday, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said Wilson will not receive a severance package or any benefits as part of his resignation from the police force. “We have now severed ties with Officer Darren Wilson,” Knowles said, adding that he realizes the change will probably not bring immediate calm to the city.
“I think we’ve recognized that there are a lot of issues,” Knowles said. “I think that people will continue to express frustration.”
Wilson still faces a federal civil rights investigation, and Brown's family could also file a civil lawsuit against Wilson, although they have not yet announced such an action. Their attorney, Benjamin Crump, said Sunday they would consider “every legal avenue” available.
Crump said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the family was not surprised that Wilson resigned because “he would not have been very effective for the Ferguson Police Department.” Crump called Wilson “cold as ice,” and said officers like him do not belong on the police force, but stressed what the family really wanted was “to have the killer of their unarmed son held accountable.”
A grand jury decided not to indict Wilson for Brown's death on Monday, sparking off protests, riots and violence, not just in Ferguson, but across the nation.
Bruntrager said Wilson was initially felt "elation" and "relief" when the grand jury announcement was made, but those emotions quickly dissolved into "profound sadness" when he saw the response from the community. Twelve businesses in and around Ferguson were torched that Monday night.
"It was a roller coaster ride,” Bruntrager said.
- Darren Wilson, Ferguson Officer Who Shot Michael Brown, Resigns
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- Ferguson Protests Sweep U.S.: Oakland, L.A, Atlanta, Boston, NYC
— Elisha Fieldstadt