Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, 28, received an award for “extraordinary effort in the line of duty” months before he gunned down unarmed teenager Mike Brown and left him in the street for 4 hours last Saturday, reports Yahoo News.
Wilson’s father, John Wilson, posted how proud he was of his son on Facebook:
“Very proud of my son, Darren Wilson on his receiving a Commendation from his Police Department,” John Wilson wrote on February 11. “Congratulations Son.”
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson released Wilson’s name during a press conference on Friday after 5 days of refusing to do so.
When reporters tried to contact Wilson, it was revealed that he and his family had “left town days ago.”
Four days ago John Wilson turned to Facebook for support without mentioning his son by name.
“Dear FB friends, Our family is in need for prayers to be sent up for a family member,” John Wilson wrote. “Circumstances do not allow for us to say anything further. Please pray with our family in mind. Put a covering of protection over our family member please.”
A woman who replied in the comment thread told John that she could put him in touch with someone that “has been through many difficult times with his children. Prayers are what brought the family through the rough times. We are just a phone call away.”
John Wilson thanked his many friends who were quick to offer encouragement.
“Please continue to do so as we deal with a family situation that is very challenging,” he wrote.
In his last post this week, John Wilson shared a saying from a Texas evangelical pastor: “When something is ‘out of control’ it is merely out of your control — not God’s!”
The Ferguson police department has done it’s best to paint Brown as the aggressor, describing Wilson as a “gentle” man and an “excellent” police officer who is “devastated” about killing Brown.
But he wasn’t too devastated to stand over him and gun him down while the unarmed teen held his hands in the air.
The FBI is currently conducting an investigation, while the citizens of Ferguson continue to protest Brown’s brutal slaying.
CELLPHONE VIDEO APPEARS TO CONTRADICT OFFICER ACCOUNTS IN KAIJEME POWELL KILLING AUG. 20 IN ST. LOUIS, MO
Within 15 seconds of arriving at the scene officers fired on Powell
By Ian Blair
The St. Louis Police Department released cellphone video footage and the 9-1-1 dispatch recording on Wednesday showing the killing of a 25-year-old black man, Kajieme Powell, by two white police officers shortly after Powell allegedly shoplifted [donuts] from a local convenience store The incident transpired only three miles south of Ferguson, Missouri, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, less than two weeks prior.
In a press conference on Tuesday, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson had said his officers fired upon Powell after Powell allegedly got within 3 or 4 feet of them while wielding a knife “in an overhand grip.”
But the cellphone video released Wednesday appears to contradict Chief Dotson’s story and his officer’s police reports. In the video, the two officers arrive on the scene in their signature police SUV responding to the 9-1-1 call from the store owner. Powell appears to be pacing as described by numerous witnesses though it is difficult to make out his words. When the officers got out of their vehicle, Powell clearly yells, still pacing about. Witnesses said the suspect yelled, “Shoot me now. Kill me now.” Powell then approaches the officers with both hands at his side and clearly further away than “3 or 4 feet,” when the two officers fire nearly a dozen shots.
The whole incident, from the time officers arrived to when they began shooting, lasts only 15 seconds.
In an interview following the release of the tapes, Chief Dotson defended his officers’ actions, acknowledging the discrepancies in his Tuesday briefing and what the video shows.
“The officers did what I think you or I would do, they protected their life in that situation,” Chief Dotson said.
When pressed by CNN’s Don Lemon about the need for officers to exercise lethal force, Dotson replied: “In a lethal situation, they used lethal force.”
Ian Blair is a Master’s Candidate in the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at NYU. Follow him on Twitter: @i2theb.