Faith Karimi and Michael Martinez, CNN, October 18, 2014
Forensic tests have found the blood of Michael Brown on the gun, uniform and police cruiser belonging to Officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot the unarmed teen two months ago in Ferguson, Missouri, The New York Times reported.
The revelation, provided by unnamed government officials familiar with a federal civil rights investigation, marked the first public account of Wilson’s testimony to investigators.
That it could potentially serve as exculpatory evidence–or at the very least, be used by Wilson’s supporters to back the officer’s account of what transpired on Canfield Drive on August 9–immediately drew suspicion and anger from leading activists who portended an ominous reaction from Brown supporters.
“This is clearly constructed and contrived to justify the killing of Mike Brown,” Ferguson resident Pam Peters told CNN affiliate KTVI.
Wilson, 28, a resident of the St. Louis area, has stayed out of the spotlight since the incident, and until now, few details have emerged publicly about his side of the story.
Wilson told investigators he was trying to leave his car when Brown shoved him back in, the Times reported Friday night.
Once in, Brown pinned him in his car and tried to get his gun, which made him fear for his safety, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed government officials familiar with the federal civil rights case.
The officer told authorities that Brown hit him and scratched him repeatedly, leaving bruises on his face and neck, according to The Times.
CNN legal analyst Paul Callan said the new account appears to be “strong evidence” favoring the officer, but “the real focus on the case will shift to what happened outside of the car when Michael Brown ran away, according to many witnesses,” Callan said.
“I think the focus will shift on the officer,” Callan said. “He is not out of the woods yet, even though this is helpful testimony for him.
“The officer will claim here that because Michael Brown tried to kill him with his gun . . . he was a danger to the public and to the officer in general,” Callan said. “However, if, as some witnesses have said, Michael Brown turned with his hands up in a surrender gesture, well, then he’s no longer a threat to anybody and he cannot be shot.
“The officer may be saying, well, that is not what’s happening. He was running towards me and trying to tackle me and he constitutes a continuing threat to my safety. So it will depend on what the grand jury believes which is the accurate version,” Callan said.
FBI forensic tests showed the gun was fired twice in the car, with one bullet hitting Brown’s arm while the second one missed, the newspaper said.
In addition to Wilson’s uniform and gun, forensic tests found the teen’s blood on the interior door panel of his car, The Times said.