Breaking his long public silence, Officer Darren Wilson on Tuesday said he shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson after a "fight for survival" and because he feared for his life.
A day after a St. Louis grand jury decided not to indict him, Wilson sat for a 45-minute interview with George Stephanopoulos that ABC News posted in full on its website Wednesday morning. Speaking calmly in a soft voice and showing no emotion throughout, Wilson repeatedly portrayed Brown as the aggressor during their altercation on August 9. The unarmed 18-year-old twice punched Wilson in the face as he sat in his police car, and the officer said in the interview that he took out his gun because he was afraid the physically larger Brown would beat him unconscious.
"The way I’ve described it is, it was like a 5-year-old trying to hold on to Hulk Hogan," Wilson said, repeating a description of Brown that he used in his testimony to the grand jury. "He was very large, [a] very powerful man." Evidence photos taken the same night showed Wilson only with redness on his cheek and no significant bruising, leading some to question his account of Brown's assault on him.
The first excerpts of the interview aired Tuesday evening as violence briefly broke out in Ferguson for a second straight night following the grand jury announcement. With a much larger National Guard presence, authorities said the evening was calmer than Monday night, with fewer arrests, while across the country large and mostly peaceful demonstrations took place in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Oakland, and other cities. Marchers everywhere took over highways and roads, stopping traffic and snarling major arteries, but mostly avoided any violence or property damage.