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Federal law enforcement officials familiar with the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., told The New York Times that officer Darren Wilson feared for his life after the larger man punched him, then reached for his sidearm.

140818163340-darren-wilson-horizontal-galleryFederal law enforcement officials familiar with the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., tell The New York Times that officer Darren Wilson, who struck Mr. Brown with six shots, feared for his life after the larger man punched him, then reached for his sidearm.

The Aug. 9 shooting sparked widespread and lasting protests in and around Ferguson, Mo, which have at times turned violent. More than 250 people have been arrested on charges ranging from burglary to refusing to disperse by police order.

The shooting and protests also highlighted simmering tensions in St. Louis and the United States more broadly over statistics that show police are more likely to shoot young black men than white men, even under similar circumstances. It also has raised questions about policing in a primarily black town overseen by a majority-white police department.

Given US laws that give wide latitude to police officers to use deadly force against potential threats, the new revelations, if true, could reduce the chance of Mr. Wilson being indicted on federal civil rights violations, and could play into whether a grand jury currently meeting decides there is probable cause to put Wilson in front of a jury.

“That Brown may have had his hands up, and that he was shot six times, will likely be minor points for the grand jury weighing evidence that suggests a struggle inside Wilson’s car,” writes Justin Glawe on the Daily Beast.

Protesters have continued to call for Wilson’s arrest, and some groups have threatened broader mayhem if he is cleared of wrongdoing. St. Louis law enforcement officials say they are preparing for civil unrest as the grand jury investigation expects to wrap up and make an announcement in mid-November.

Written By: PATRICK JONSSON, staff writer, continue at CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

 

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