Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson thanked his supporters Monday night after the announcement that a grand jury decided not to indict him for the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. A statement issued by Wilson's lawyers said he "followed his training and followed the law" when he opened fire on the 18-year-old during an Aug. 9 confrontation in the Missouri city.
"We recognize that many people will want to second-guess the grand jury's decision," the lawyers said in a statement, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We would encourage anyone who wants to express an opinion do so in a respectful and peaceful manner.
"On a side note, Officer Wilson would like to thank those who have stood by his side throughout this process. This continued support is greatly appreciated by Officer Wilson and his family."
The St. Louis County grand jury deliberated for two days after hearing from 60 witnesses, including Wilson, who has not been seen in public since a wave of sometimes-violent protests erupted after the shooting.
"From the onset, we have maintained and the grand jury agreed that Officer Wilson's actions on August 9 were in accordance with the laws and regulations that govern the procedures of an officer," the attorneys said.
"Based on the evidence and witness testimony, the grand jury collectively determined there was no basis for criminal charges against Officer Wilson.
"Law enforcement personnel must frequently make split-second and difficult decisions. Officer Wilson followed his training and followed the law."
NBC St. Louis affiliate KSDK also obtained a letter Wilson wrote to supporters, apparently before the decision was announced. He calls them "simply amazing" and said that a rally for him over the weekend " brought tears to my eyes."
The letter, which was given to KSDK by an unidentified Wilson supporter, also says, "Please don't give this letter to any media or post it where they can see it. Relay the message of thanks to all and keep this letter private until the investigation is complete."