Demonstrators hold signs as protests continues after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. on Aug. 17, 2014.
Ed Zurga/EPA

5 questions for Darren Wilson, the cop who killed Michael Brown

Updated

Nearly a week after the fatal shooting of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, police on Friday identified the name of the officer responsible for killing the college-bound 18-year-old. But Darren Wilson’s name is just the tip of the iceberg in a long list of questions the public – and the victim’s family – have for the white, six-year police force veteran who is decidedly steering clear of the press.

More clashes rock Ferguson
Earlier in the evening Monday, the mood was calm. But as the hour grew later, the community of Ferguson was once again convulsed by violence and chaos.

  1. Where is he? Not long after Brown’s death, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson went on record saying that Wilson – whose name, at the time, was unknown to the public – went on paid administrative leave in the aftermath of Brown’s death, citing as justification social media threats to Wilson’s life and that of his family. But now, over one week later, the public continues to wonder, Where in the world is Darren Wilson? “Further complicating the pain and loss in this tragedy is the fact that the killer of your son is alive, known, and currently free. In fact, he is on paid administrative leave,” says Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, in a letter to Brown’s family, echoing concern over Wilson’s ability to enjoy his freedom while Brown’s parents must continue to grieve with few answers about the circumstances surrounding their son’s death.

  2. Has he been questioned? It took four days – and a federal investigation launched by Attorney General Eric Holder –  for law enforcement officials to question Dorian Johnson, a self-proclaimed eyewitness to Brown’s shooting. Has Wilson been questioned about the incident? We still don’t know. But certainly, a thorough investigation depends on timely witness statements, especially including one from the known perpetrator.

  3. Why did he shoot? Police allege that Wilson initially stopped Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, because the pair was walking in the middle of a residential street. And St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that a struggle over the officer’s weapon prompted Wilson to shoot Brown. But both eyewitnesses – Johnson and Tiffany Mitchell – maintain that there was no struggle over the weapon, with Mitchell explaining that Brown’s hands remained outside the officer’s vehicle the entire time.

  4. How many times? Wilson shot Brown at least six times on Aug. 9, pathologist Dr. Michael Baden said, confirming two earlier eyewitness accounts that said Brown was shot several times. But “at least six times” could mean six, it could mean 16, or it could mean 60. And autopsy results alone only indicate how many shots struck Brown, as opposed to how many were fired.

  5. Will he be charged? The release Monday morning of Michael Brown’s first autopsy – showing he was shot six times, including twice in the head – intensified demands that Wilson be criminally charged. And Monday, the office of the county prosecutor said a grand jury could start hearing evidence as soon as Wednesday. “Why hasn’t Officer Wilson been arrested?” shouted a woman at the press conference to announce the results of the autopsy, triggering a roar of support. Meanwhile, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who is responsible for probing the shooting and potentially filing charges, is facing calls to step aside amid questions about his ability to be impartial in the investigation. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden told ABC News Monday morning that the only way to restore peace to Ferguson, which saw its most violent clashes Sunday night, is for Wilson to be charged.

Additional reporting by Zachary Roth.

Darren Wilson, Ferguson, Michael Brown, Missouri and Police Brutality

5 questions for Darren Wilson, the cop who killed Michael Brown

Updated