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Darren Wilson profile in ‘New Yorker’ riles activists

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Officer Darren Wilson. (File photo)

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – With the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting death this Sunday, New Yorker magazine published a profile Monday morning of the former police officer who shot and killed the Ferguson teenager.

That story, which delves into Darren Wilson’s upbringing and the moments leading up to his fateful encounter with the 18-year-old Brown, as well as Wilson’s current life in hiding, has drawn the ire of activists online.

Writer Jake Halpern’s 10,000-word profile piece on Wilson, entitled ‘The Man Who Shot Michael Brown,’ is based on a series of interviews with the 29-year-old former police officer and his wife, conducted since March 2015.

Wilson, who has since moved to “the outskirts of St. Louis,” said he began receiving death threats shortly after shooting Brown.

An U.S. Justice Department-led investigation into the events of the shooting concluded Wilson did not willfully violate Brown’s civil rights and cleared him of wrongdoing. However, a second report by the DoJ blasted practices by the city and its police force regarding arrests and fines levied against black citizens in overwhelmingly high numbers.

Shortly after the profile piece was published, civil rights activist DeRay McKesson took to Twitter to accuse The New Yorker of “humanizing” Wilson, adding “watch whiteness work” in a subsequent tweet.

McKesson opined The New Yorker should have sent an African-American writer to interview Wilson instead of Halpern, who is white.

McKesson’s followers were quick to highlight a peculiar—albeit brief—passage in the story, describing Wilson:

Wilson, a former Boy Scout with round cheeks and blue eyes, speaks with a muted drawl.

Others accused Halpern of giving Wilson “softball” questions.

Wilson, currently unemployed, said he wanted to return to the Ferguson Police Department after the grand jury declined to indict him, but was told his presence would make things difficult for the department and endanger other officers. His wife, a fellow police officer whom Wilson met when he first came to the Ferguson Police Department, retired early rather than take a job as a dispatcher for less pay. Wilson has not been offered a job in law enforcement anywhere.

Wilson said he’s been trying to move on with his life. When asked if he regrets not being able to go out in public, such as restaurants, Wilson said he’s able to get out from time to time, but only in certain places.

“We try to go somewhere—how do I say this correctly?—with like-minded individuals,” he said. “You know. Where it’s not a mixing pot.”

 

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