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Ferguson Police Officer Wilson Not to Receive Severance Pay

  • VOA News

The white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in the central U.S. state of Missouri after a street confrontation, sparking protests, has resigned and will receive no severance compensation.

A lawyer for Officer Darren Wilson said Saturday his resignation from the Ferguson Police Department is effective immediately. Wilson had been on administrative leave since he shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said in a press conference Sunday that neither he nor the chief of police asked Wilson to resign, adding that he will not be receiving any severance pay.

Knowles said city authorities are working hard to assemble resources to fix the damage from protests and looting following a grand jury's decision Monday not to indict Wilson for killing Brown.

Looking for solutions

Knowles added that officials are looking at ways to address the grievances of the Ferguson community and will increase efforts to recruit more African Americans to the police force.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson says he will not be stepping down.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper posted Wilson's resignation letter. Wilson wrote he had been told his continued employment on the police force may put his fellow officers and Ferguson residents at risk. He added he hopes his resignation will allow the community to heal.

Meanwhile, protests continued Saturday against the grand jury decision.

"I mean, at this point, everybody's going to be upset anyway. Everyone's going to feel the way they feel. I'm upset. I have a 16-year-old son. It could have been him. I feel that he was absolutely in the wrong," said a Ferguson resident.

A group of demonstrators set out from Ferguson Saturday on a seven-day, 193-kilometer march to the Missouri state capital, Jefferson City.

The so-called "Journey for Justice" is organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The NAACP says the march's purpose "is to call for new leadership of the Ferguson Police Department" and "new reforms of police practice and culture" across the country. It says rallies and teach-ins will be held along the route each night of the march.

Washington protests

In the Washington, D.C., area Saturday, hundreds of people angry over the decision in Ferguson marched on a local shopping mall, after rallying in the historic Georgetown neighborhood.

"Every 28 hours a black person is killed in America. They are basically telling us that black lives do not matter. It's the system, it's the American system," said a protester. "Basically, if you're white, you're white. And if you're black, you must have done something, and that's the problem. That's what we are fighting to change."

Saturday's protests follow demonstrations coinciding with Black Friday - the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

Protesters in the St. Louis area, Chicago, New York and other U.S. cities called for a shopping boycott as a show of solidarity. Three St. Louis-area malls were reportedly shut down briefly as a result of the demonstrations.

Police say 16 people were arrested in Ferguson overnight.

Brown's killing has inflamed racial tensions in the country and re-ignited concerns about police brutality, especially against the nation's black population.