ST. LOUIS — Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed teenager Michael Brown three months ago, is unlikely to return to his job regardless of whether a grand jury decides to indict him, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Thursday.
“I don’t see it happening,” Jackson said in a brief interview.
He did not elaborate on his thinking, calling it a “personnel matter.”
Jackson’s comments mark a reversal from earlier this month, when he indicated Wilson, who is on paid leave, would be welcomed back to the force if he is not indicted. Separately, CNN reported Thursday that Wilson was in talks with Ferguson officials to negotiate his resignation. Those talks still could collapse, the report said, but would provide a way to ease pressure in a city bracing for another round of protests if Wilson faces no legal action.
A grand jury decision is expected to come within the next few days. The grand jury has heard testimony regarding the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown, 18, examining whether Wilson’s shooting was justified. Potential charges against Wilson could range from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter, but many protesters say they expect Wilson not to be indicted.
Wilson has not spoken publicly since the shooting and is believed to be under police protection. His lawyers did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Thursday.
In anticipation of the grand jury decision, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this week declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard. In the weeks following the shooting, protesters sparred nightly with police officers who used militarized equipment and deployed tear gas.
Even if Wilson is not indicted, he still faces a federal civil rights case and an internal police department investigation. Federal investigators have all but concluded they do not have a case against Wilson, law enforcement officials have said.