Picking Apart the Bizarre Testimony of Darren Wilson
"When I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan."
Last night, shortly after the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson was announced, officials released more than 100 pages of transcripts wherein Wilson describes his confrontation with 18-year-old Michael Brown in August. It is long, intense, and detailed. It is also quite bizarre.
The documents were published around the same time the first photos taken of Wilson after the incident were released. The images show some light bruising and discoloration. Considered in tandem with the transcripts, which mark the first time the public has seen an in-depth account of the incident from Wilson's point of view, the photos give us a lot new material to think about.
The first particularly noteworthy exchange comes in the form of a discussion about nonlethal force. Why did Darren Wilson have to shoot at Michael Brown 12 times that day instead of opting for his Taser? Because Wilson wasn't carrying a Taser. In fact, Wilson chooses not to carry a Taser most of the time because "it is not the most comfortable thing."
After explaining why he was unable to subdue his allegedly vicious attacker, Wilson begins to explain his relative puny-ness compared with the 6'4", nearly 300-pound Michael Brown. While Brown was certainly a large man, Wilson is reportedly also 6'4" and weighs 210 pounds.
When Wilson's description gave the questioner pause, he doubled down on his description: Mike Brown was like Hulk Hogan; Darren Wilson was like a child.
Wilson says he could not reach his mace, which only left one deadly option.
In a line that has become infamous, Wilson claims that Brown incited him by calling him a pussy and almost daring him to shoot. The line is not corroborated by other eyewitnesses.
Going back to Mike Brown's alleged Hulk Hogan strength, Wilson makes it clear here that he was afraid of being punched to death.
Here Officer Wilson describes Michael Brown's face after being shot for the first time. Within the portrayal of Brown as a "demon" is also an admission that he approached Wilson with his hands in the air following the first gunshot.
The Hulk rage continues as Wilson describes Brown as someone who might be willing to run through a hail of bullets. The picture being painted of Brown here is that of someone who is almost superhuman.
Returning to the crux of his story, Wilson insists all of this started because he had asked Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson to step onto the sidewalk while they were walking along the road. It was at that point Brown, according to Wilson, snapped into Hulk Hogan mode.
Perhaps to provide context for his actions, Wilson lets the jury know that the area of Ferguson where he shot Mike Brown is not a place to "take things lightly."
When discussing the aftermath of the incident, the questioner refers to the shooting of Mike Brown as a crime, then corrects herself and labels it a "situation."
Here is Darren Wilson describing shooting his service weapon out of his car window without looking. For some reason, this admission did not receive further scrutiny.
This is one of the more bizarre moments in the testimony, wherein Wilson explains that Brown was in "complete control" of Wilson's service weapon, even though the weapon was in Wilson's possession. He conflates the weapon's visibility to Brown with it being in Brown's control, and again implies that he was overpowered.
Finally, we get Wilson's description of why he assessed Mike Brown as a threat worth pursuing. After explaining his fear of being punched to death by the 18-year-old, it's clear Wilson felt he needed to effectively neutralize Brown before he could punch any other cops—"or worse."
This testimony is hard to corroborate, as the eyewitnesses do not provide any sort of consistent recounting of the events. The text does, however, offer the public a chance to hear Darren Wilson's description of the encounter in his own words.
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Read the full transcript below.