What Will Darren Wilson Do Next? 3 Possibilities For The Newly Resigned Ferguson Police Officer
Just five days after being cleared of all charges involving the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, Officer Darren Wilson has announced his decision to resign from the Ferguson police force. Calling it the "hardest thing I've ever had to do," Wilson's decision came as expected, after having been on administrative leave since Brown's death on August 9 of this year. And although his resignation is not a surprise, questions still remain about what the police officer will do after he turns in his badge.
Citing concern for public wellbeing, Wilson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his departure is a sign of his ongoing commitment to the safety of his peers, saying, "I’m resigning of my own free will. I’m not willing to let someone else get hurt because of me." He noted in his resignation letter,
I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow...It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me.
So how will Wilson now go about ensuring the safety of "other police officers and the community" outside of law enforcement? Here are a few possibilities:
Work as a security guard
History seems to have a way of repeating itself, and if George Zimmerman is any indication, it seems likely that Wilson may utilize his officer's training in a similar line of work, but for private businesses. Earlier this year, it was reported that Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in 2012, was working as a security guard for a motorcycle, guns and ammunition store. According to police reports from July, Zimmerman claimed to be guarding the establishment from potential burglaries.
DeLand Police Sgt. Chris Estes told the Daytona Beach News-Journal, "He said he had permission from Pat Johnson to do night security, but our officers could not make contact with Pat Johnson to verify that so we did an information report." However, the store's manager denied employing Zimmerman, telling the News-Journal that Zimmerman was "not an employee of the business" and was "not getting paid in any way."
Become an educator
In Wilson's interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, which took place just a day after a grand jury failed to indict him on any charges, Wilson already seemed sure that his career on the force was over. Speaking with Stephanopoulos, he said,
Do you really think it's possible? Do you think they would accept me? Do you think it would be safe for me? Those are all questions, not only for me but other officers. Is attention brought to me going to hurt one of them? Can I put them in that situation?
After finding the answers to all of these questions to be "no," Wilson suggested that he did have another line of work in mind — becoming a police force educator to warn others against the use of deadly force. While Wilson believes that his own actions were justified, he told Stephanopoulos that he wanted to use his own experiences as a lesson for others. Said Wilson,
I would love to teach people. I would love to give more insight on … into the use of force and anything I can. Anything that I can get out of this career I've had so far and of the incident, I would love to give to someone else.
Be a full-time family man
In the midst of all the heartache and drama of the last few months, Wilson has found his own silver lining, marrying girlfriend Barbara Lynn Spradling, a fellow member of the police force. Wilson has been married previously, but this is Spradling's first union. The couple is expecting a baby, and Wilson told Stephanopoulos that he just wants a "normal" life. Of course, reaching that goal will be a work in progress, and he recognized that he and his growing family would have to take things "day-by-day."
Since the shooting, Wilson has lived much of his life underground, and said in his interview, "You have to take precautions, where you sit in a restaurant and where you drive. You have to make sure no one is following you." According to his lawyer, Wilson would attempt to do even the most mundane of activities under the cover of darkness after receiving a number of death threats. Even after the grand jury decision, Wilson recognizes that the situation is "still evolving," and the ex-officer is still part of an ongoing federal investigation.
As CNN reports, the Justice Department has two civil rights investigations pending, one which examines whether Wilson "violated Brown's civil rights," and another that will take a closer look at the Ferguson police department's "overall track record with minorities."
So even as Officer Wilson leaves the Ferguson police department, his future remains unclear.
Images: Getty Images (4); ABC