Ferguson officer modest, private

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 10:38 AM
Last updated 8:31 PM
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FERGUSON, Mo. — A white police officer whose shooting death of an unarmed black 18-year-old ignited racial upheaval in a St. Louis suburb has been characterized as either an aggressor whose deadly gunfire constituted a daylight execution or a law enforcer wrongly maligned for just doing his job.

Wilson receives an award earlier this year at a city council meeting.  ASSOCIATED PRESS
Wilson receives an award earlier this year at a city council meeting.

An incomplete picture of Texas-born Ferguson officer Darren Wilson has emerged since Aug. 9, when authorities say the white six-year police veteran killed Michael Brown during a confrontation in the predominantly black city where all but three of the 53 police officers are white.

The Brown family’s attorneys have labeled Wilson as a murderer, though the investigation continues and no charges have been filed. The 28-year-old officer has gone underground since the shooting, with relatives contacted by The Associated Press refusing to reveal his whereabouts or discuss the shooting or Wilson’s background.

But snippets of his life have emerged. His parents were married only four years before divorcing in 1989 in Texas. Court records say he divorced last November. His mother, a convicted forger and alleged con artist, died 12 years ago. Wilson got a commendation in February from the Ferguson police force, four years into his job there.

An online fundraising drive on Wilson’s behalf as of Thursday had drawn more than $77,000 in donations for the tall, slender and blond-haired cop. And a longtime friend — former high school classmate and hockey buddy Jake Shepard — publicly has come to Wilson’s defense, insisting in interviews that the shy Wilson would never maliciously take a life and fears possible retribution.

Having talked to Wilson since the shooting, Shepard said, “I think he’s kind of struggling a little bit, but I think he’s doing OK.”

“He didn’t really want to talk much about it,” Shepard, also 28, said of Brown’s death. “But I can tell you for sure it was not racially motivated. He’s not the type of person to harbor any hate for anybody. He was always nice, respectable and well-mannered, a gentleman. He doesn’t have anything bad to say about anybody, ever. He’s very genuine.”

Similar depictions of Wilson, who has been on paid administrative leave since Brown’s death, have come from his boss, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.

During a Ferguson City Council meeting in February, Wilson got special recognition from Jackson for what the chief said then was his role in responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle, then struggling with the driver and detaining him for arrest until help arrived. Jackson said the suspect was preparing a large quantity of marijuana for sale. His proclamation in hand, according a video of the meeting obtained Tuesday by the AP, Wilson returned to his seat with a broad grin.

“He was a gentle, quiet man,” Jackson told reporters last Friday while publicly identifying Wilson, a four-year veteran of the department after spending two policing in nearby Jennings, as the officer who shot Brown, noting that Wilson has no prior disciplinary record. Calling Wilson “distinguished” and “a gentleman,” Jackson added that “he is, he has been, an excellent officer.”

Online court records show that Wilson’s mother — Tonya Durso, also known as Tonya Harris — pleaded guilty in 2001 to a dozen felony stealing and forgery counts in Missouri’s St. Charles County just west of St. Louis and was sentenced to five years on probation, with the judge suspending a five-year prison sentence. Durso was 35 when she died in 2002, and Wilson was placed under the guardianship of Tyler Harris until a St. Charles County judge dissolved that in mid-2004.

Wilson, who has Missouri hunting and fishing licenses, did not answer the AP’s knock Tuesday on his door at his brick, ranch-style home in Missouri’s Crestwood, a largely white St. Louis suburb some 18 miles southwest of Ferguson.

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Just My Opinion
Just My Opinion 08/21/14 - 11:53 am
Man, this article really

Man, this article really shows how desperate reporters are for a story!
His Mom was a con-artist?? Really??

alleycat 08/21/14 - 12:06 pm
Who cares who his mom was.

Who cares who his mom was. That has nothing to do with this. Maybe since it was brought up you should tell us a little about Browns Mom & Dad. Since Wilson turned out to be an upstanding citizen & Brown was disrespectful to his elders a thieve & bully. No one tried to trash his character ,he did that himself when he starred in that wonderful video .

nocnoc 08/21/14 - 12:15 pm
Quickly notice the Article slant

Did anyone else notice they lead with an "aggressor" personal
then played the WILD WEST sheriff hint by using Texas born.

Played the trouble family, trouble divorced officer and more

Then skimmed over any of the positives.
While using loaded phrases like "broad grin"

Or the fact this is the 1st time the officer has shot or killed any suspect.

BTW: The AP reporter was so nice publish the area he lives in.
I hope he does not own the house, because likely others will use the Local GIS system to find him.

Having been in that area many times, in the 1990's.
An if it still the same as was.
Any vandals will likely get shot before there is a big problem

nocnoc 08/21/14 - 12:18 pm
BTW: will AP Jim Suhr spend the same level of Effort

on the THUG BROWN's history?

I am interested in the Gentle Giant's background, using the Officers article as a template

foxsilong 08/26/14 - 01:26 pm
It never ends.

Two men walking on the road shouldn't be something as serious as "blocking traffic."
Brown should not have try to get away forcefully.
Wilson should not have shoot an unarmed person.
Protest doesn't have to become a riot.

So what about Wilson's mother being a criminal?
So what about Brown's friend taking cigar rudely with/without pay?

Mistakes come after another mistake and another mistake.
It never ends. Everyone is pointing fingers.

Police is arresting civilians when they should be protecting them
Civilians are criticizing police when they should be thanking them for their protection.

The Ferguson world is upside down, inside out....and it never ends.

stuaby 08/21/14 - 08:12 pm
Another AP piece in which

Another AP piece in which they just can't conceal their leftist sympathies.

-shot an 'unarmed' black teen (no mention of the teen's much more relative anti-social rampage at the convenience store)

-'Texas born' (uh-huh, got it. A gun-crazy)

-'tall, blonde haired' (a little 'master race' imagery for you.)

-'mother convicted' (immaterial negative association)

-'broad grin' (grinning over straightjacking a poor citizen who just wanted to smoke a little mj to relieve pain.)

-'hunting and fishing licenses' (knuckle-dragging oaf who's out there killing poor, innocent deer and fish)

-lives in a 'largely white suburb' (Why include this? How many of the 3 black officers live in the 'hood'?)

These AP people are the worst. And that's were all the newspapers, including the AC, get their stories.

myfather15 08/21/14 - 10:14 pm

Not only pointing out he is Texas-born, but also "Wilson, who has Missouri hunting and fishing licenses,"!!

What the heck does his hunting and fishing license have to do with a darn thing???

This is nothing more than a disgusting left wing hit job; trying to fire up more of the left wing base!! Why do I say that? Because many on the left believe "If you'll kill an animal, you'll kill a human" and I've heard this non-sense many times from those on the left!!

Why else would they point out he has a hunting and fishing license? Maybe they're trying to get Peta involved in the protests as well!!

He didn't answer the door? I wouldn't either, not for the AP!! But I probably would spit in their face if they came to my property!!

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