Darren Wilson has officially resigned from the Ferguson Police Department, citing concerns that staying on the job "may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk."
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch broke the news of Wilson's resignation, which was submitted less than a week after a grand jury decided not to indict him for killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August.
Wilson, 28, told the local paper that he resigned "of my own free will," and that it was "the hardest thing I've ever had to do."
Wilson said he resigned after Ferguson police officials told him that people had threatened violence if he were to remain an employee.
According to the paper, Wilson's resignation read in full:
"I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow. For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process."
The Post-Dispatch also reported that Wilson said he will not receive a severance package from the department, though "more talks may be held on that topic." Wilson also reportedly told the paper that he is not involved in any internal police investigation.
Wilson shot Brown on August 9 after confronting the teen and his friend for walking down the middle of the street in the St. Louis suburb. Though the exact chain of events that led to the shooting is disputed, evidence and witness statements suggest Brown and Wilson got into an altercation through the window of Wilson's police SUV, leading Wilson to fire at least one shot at close range that hit Brown. Wilson subsequently fired several more rounds at Brown from a distance, with some witnesses saying the fatal shots were fired while Brown had his hands up in surrender.
Wilson told the Post-Dispatch that witnesses who say Brown's hands were raised, "would be incorrect."
According to transcripts of Wilson's grand jury testimony, the officer said Brown looked like "a demon," and that during their physical altercation he felt "like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan." Another officer recalled Wilson saying that Brown grabbed for his gun, and that he "had to kill him."
The case has provoked outrage and months of protests — which occasionally turned violent — in Ferguson, a majority black town with a police force that is almost entirely white. The grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson was followed by riots, arsons, and looting. Mostly peaceful demonstrations surrounding Wilson's non-indictment disrupted shopping around the country on Black Friday.
Wilson could still face charges in a separate federal civil rights investigation, and he and the Ferguson Police Department could be subject to a civil lawsuit from Brown's family.
Wilson told the Post-Dispatch he's not sure what he'll do next.
"I've got to figure out what do we do now," Wilson said. "Right now I would not want to be a cop, but you never know. Only time will tell."
Follow Keegan Hamilton on Twitter: @keegan_hamilton