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Missouri Police Officer Who Shot Unarmed Teen Resigns


A group walks past a burned-out business in Ferguson, Missouri, early in a march to the governor's mansion in Jefferson City aimed at highlighting the need for improved police practices in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting, Nov. 29, 2014.

The white Missouri police officer who escaped indictment in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen in August has resigned.

The resignation of Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown after a street confrontation in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, is effective immediately, his lawyer said Saturday. Wilson had been on administrative leave since the shooting.

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

Protests continued Saturday in the U.S. in the wake of a grand jury's decision Monday not to charge Wilson in the shooting of Brown, 18.

Hours before Wilson resigned, a seven-day march called the "Journey for Justice," organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, began in Ferguson. The marchers are heading to Jefferson City, Missouri's capital, more than 190 kilometers (almost 120 miles) away.

About 100 people were expected to take part initially, with more joining segments of the long walk and about 1,000 expected to be part of the final portion, an NAACP staff member told Reuters.

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

Demonstrations have been held nationwide since the decision not to indict Wilson was announced.

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

Saturday's protests followed 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 said 16 people were arrested in Ferguson overnight.

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