As groups around the country continue to protest a grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, Wilson maintains that it was "survival instinct" that caused him to fire at Brown.
In a somber interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Wilson also said it pains him to see the violence and destruction that has ensued in Ferguson after the grand jury's decision was made public. "It's just sad," he tells ABC. "That community is really a great community. It's heartbreaking to see it be torn down and burned and looted. No one wants to watch that or have to see that."
Portions of Wilson's remarks aired on ABC Monday night, and more of it was broadcast on Good Morning America Wednesday morning. (You can watch the interview in its entirety below.) Wilson recounts his interaction with Brown second by second, saying he was on his way to go get lunch when he encountered Brown walking in the middle of the street with a friend back in August. Wilson says he asked them to move to the sidewalk and Brown's response was: "F--- what you have to say." Later, while the two were struggling, Wilson says Brown charged his car, reached for his gun and told him, "You're too much of a p---y to shoot me."
"This escalated so quickly from a simple request to a fight for survival," Wilson told ABC. "It still doesn't make sense to me why someone would act in this way ... and be so aggressive so instantly."
Wilson says he fired the fatal shot into Brown's head, believing the teen was about to tackle him, and knew he was dead instantly. "Shock would be a good way to describe it," he says of his immediate reaction. "You always know it's a possibility, but you never think it's going to happen. You never really think you're going to have to use your gun. There's not a cop out there who goes out there like, 'I'm gonna use my gun today.' No one wants to. No one ever wants to do it."
Asked if there was anything that could have prevented Brown's death, Wilson responded: "Him complying. If he would have gotten on the sidewalk ... I would have gone and gotten lunch and continued my day. He would have continued his."
Wilson says he supports Brown's family's push for a law that would require police officers to wear chest cameras, noting that it would protect innocent police officers and also "weed out the bad ones." He also tells ABC it's doubtful he'll continue to work as a police officer, and certainly not in Ferguson due to concerns for his own safety. Knowing he's the target of many protesters' anger and animosity, Wilson insists the shooting was not racially motivated and says the characterization "hurts."
"That's not who I am at all," he tells ABC. "These people are making me out as something I'm not. All I wanted to do was live. ... The only emotion I ever felt was fear."
"I feel sorry that his life was lost," he adds. "I never wanted to take anyone's life. That's not the good part of the job. That's the bad part of the job. ... The reason I have a clean conscience is because I know I did my job right."
Watch his full interview below:
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