Attorneys for Officer Darren Wilson revealed to reporters on Wednesday what their client was doing in the months after he fatally shot an unarmed black teenager while on duty.
Darren Wilson was cutting his grass ten days after the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown when he learned that his home address was circulating online. Leaving his lawn half-mowed, he quickly packed some bags and went into hiding. To avoid discovery, he changed locations multiple times before settling at an undisclosed “quote-unquote permanent location,” his attorneys told the Washington Post.
Wilson’s first move was to the home of a relative that didn’t share his last name. However, members of the press had discovered his new location by nightfall, and he fled to the home of his attorney, Greg Kloeppel, where he remained for about a week.
Wilson refrained from going out in public very often, but occasionally did so while wearing some kind of a disguise. His attorneys said he preferred dark movie theaters. “He cross-dressed a lot,” one of the lawyers jokingly told the Post.
“You’re always looking, wondering if someone recognized you, if someone’s following you,” Wilson explained during an interview that aired Wednesday on Good Morning America. “I take precautions wherever I go. From where you sit at a restaurant to where you drive. Everything runs through your head.”
“I did have a beard for a little while,” he added. “It was uncomfortable.”
In the weeks following the shooting, Wilson hoped to return to the police force. It’s clear now, his attorneys said, that he will never return to his old career. “It took some time for him to realize that wasn’t exactly going to be what happened,” Wilson attorney Danielle Thompson told the Post.
“Do you realize,” attorney James Towey said he told Wilson, “your first call [back on the job] will be to a blind alley where you’re executed?”
“Do you realize your first call [back on the job] will be to a blind alley where you’re executed?”
Department officials have yet to disclose whether or not Wilson will be allowed to resume his duties, but it’s likely an untenable prospect given his notoriety and the heightened distrust of the police among Ferguson residents. There is also, of course, the risk to Wilson himself.
Addressing claims that Wilson’s version of events on ABC appeared too rehearsed, attorney Danielle Thompson responded that her client’s story hadn’t changed since the shooting. “He could probably tell it in his sleep if he had to,” she said.
Towey contrasted Wilson’s actions after the shooting with those of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch coordinator who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old high-school student, in Feb. 2012.
Zimmerman, he said, “is an idiot, Darren was not. Any criminal defense lawyer that has half a brain says, ‘Shut up, don’t say a word.’ ”
Wilson’s attorneys told the Post that the officer will not be apologizing to the family of the teenager he killed.
“Even if he gave the most heartfelt apology,” the attorneys said, “they’d still not like it.”
Wilson learned on Monday that a St. Louis County grand jury had declined to indict him in the shooting death of Brown. The incident is still being investigated at the federal level by outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who will decide whether or net Wilson violated Brown’s civil rights. Many expect the Brown family to also pursue a civil lawsuit against Wilson.
H/T Washington Post | Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III