For more than three months after police officer Darren Wilson killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in the middle of a Ferguson, Missouri, street on August 9, it was difficult to get a full idea of what happened.
Wilson’s grand jury testimony was secret. But there were leaks, along with a few publicly available details about his life. He is 28 years old. Six months before the shooting, he won a commendation for “extraordinary effort in the line of duty.” He lived with his girlfriend (whom he married in secret in October). He had previously worked for a nearby police department that was so dysfunctional it was disbanded. Anonymous sources “close” to him told various news outlets that Brown had tried to grab Wilson’s gun and that Brown was charging at him before Wilson fired the fatal shots. A fuzzy picture of Wilson and his account emerged.
Of course, it’s impossible to ever know Brown’s side, because he isn’t here to tell it. But we have learned quite a bit about him, as well. He was “no angel.” He had marijuana in his system when he died. He was college bound. He stole cigarillos from a convenience store and “strong-armed” a clerk in the process. He, at 6’5″ and almost 300 pounds, was remembered by loved ones as a gentle giant.