Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, will “immediately” return to duty if he is not indicted by a grand jury over the killing, police chief Tom Jackson told Yahoo News Friday. People in Ferguson are awaiting the a grand jury's decision on whether to bring charges against the white police officer who shot and killed the 18-year-old unarmed black teen on Aug.9.
Wilson has been on paid leave since Brown's shooting, which triggered racially charged protests in and around the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Jackson reportedly said that the officer in question will return to a “not yet determined assignment,” if he is not indicted. If he is charged over the teen's death, he will “most likely” be terminated by the department. Jackson also reportedly said that he had not been in contact with Wilson and was unaware if he was interested in returning to duty.
“I would be surprised if they put him back on the streets at least in the near future,” Bob Gorsky, a Dallas criminal defense attorney said, according to Yahoo News.
Gorsky, who has represented Texas police officers for nearly 40 years, reportedly said that the backing Wilson has received from the Ferguson Police Department may play a role in the grand jury’s decision.
“He’s always going to be dealing with the emotional scars of the event itself, not to mention the scrutiny he’s gone through,” Gorsky reportedly said. “It’s going to be a tough situation for him. Hopefully the department will support him if he’s not charged with a crime.”
The grand jury has been hearing testimony from eyewitnesses to the event for the last three months. The jury has been given until Jan. 7, 2015 to reach a decision, but officials are expecting a decision to be handed down before then.
Residents and law enforcement agencies are gearing up for a potentially violent outburst after the long-awaited ruling is given out. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has encouraged residents to remain calm as they await the jury’s decision.
“That ugliness was not representative of Missouri," Nixon reportedly said.