Documents just uncovered by the Washington Post show that Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in 2014, admitted in court that he used the n-word to describe black people. The filing, which is part of a civil suit brought by Brown's family over his death, also suggests Wilson heard other cops use the same slur.
Given the federal report on systemic racial prejudice by police in the Missouri city that came out not long after Brown's killing, none of this is exactly a surprise. But for his part, Wilson's attorney told the Post in an email this week that his client only used the word when repeating another cop's remarks as described by a witness—and that he had never done so in a "derogatory" manner. Nor, the attorney added, did his client "repeat… a racist joke while on duty."
The news comes on the heels of another new wrinkle in the explosive case. A documentary about the shooting that premiered over the weekend at South by Southwest contained previously unreleased footage that raised questions over whether or not Brown stole a box of cigarillos before his death. Protesters gathered outside the store at issue, Ferguson Market and Liquor, on Sunday night, and gun shots were reported. One man was arrested for allegedly trying to blow up a police car, but no one was injured.
A grand jury declined to indict Wilson in November 2014, and the cop's admissions to using epithets came as part of the ongoing wrongful death lawsuit Brown's family filed the following year against Wilson, his former boss, the St. Louis County Police Department, and Ferguson itself.
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