There have been "egregious" threats against the Ferguson, Mo., police in the months since the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson, Mayor James Knowles said today, but he denied that the city asked the cop to leave the force.
Wilson, who resigned from the Ferguson Police Department on Saturday, five days after a grand jury declined to indict him in the killing, said in his resignation letter he was concerned about whether his continued presence on the force would endanger police.
"I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow," he wrote.
But the mayor said at a news conference today that the department did not ask Wilson, 28, to leave the force, and said he will not receive any severance or benefits.
Ferguson officers have been working in a "threatening environment all along" since Brown was killed on Aug. 9, Police Chief Tom Jackson said.
Jackson said he met with Wilson earlier this week, which he said was the first time they had met since the shooting, but he would not provide details from that conversation.
Neil Bruntrager told The Associated Press today that Wilson decided to resign after he was told by Jackson that the department had received threats.
Bruntrager would not say what kind of threats the department received.
Wilson's resignation came five days after a grand jury investigating the Aug. 9 shooting declined to indict the police officer. He had been on administrative leave since the shooting.
The killing of Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, on a Saturday afternoon in the St. Louis suburb, ignited protests there and around the country.
Since the grand jury decision there have been renewed demonstrations in every major city across the country, protesting the failure to charge him.
Though Wilson was cleared by the grand jury, the Justice Department is conducting a civil rights investigation into the shooting as well as a separate probe of police department practices.
Wilson, who has been in seclusion since the fatal shooting, said this week in an interview with "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanolpoulos that he had gotten married since the Aug.9 shooting and that he and his new wife are expecting a baby.
Wilson said in that interview that he wanted to spend his career with the police force, and hoped to one day be promoted to sergeant.
"I wanted to stay on the road for 30 years and then retire as sergeant and have a retirement," Wilson said. "That's all that I wanted."