A court filing reveals that Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson, Mo., police officer who fatally shot Black teen Michael Brown, used the N-word in reference to Black people. In a sworn admission, Wilson said he and other city officers have all used the word.
“Officer Wilson did admit in discovery responses that he used the n-word and has heard former officer(s) use the n-word on at least one occasion,” Greg Kloeppel, Wilson’s attorney, said in an email to the Washington Post, which revealed the Dec. 28 court filing on Tuesday.
“But, he did so while repeating/reporting what a victim, witness or suspect etc., relayed to him while conducting an investigation or preparing a report.”
Kloeppel insists that Wilson “never used the n-word to refer to an African American in a racist or derogatory manner and he never repeated a racist joke while on duty.”
It's beside the point—Darren Wilson never should’ve put himself in a position where Mike Brown could bum-rush him.
In a series of 173 “admissions” filed in December as part of the civil lawsuit against Wilson, he “admitted” to the following statement:
“You used the n-word to refer to an African American on at least one occasion.”
Wilson did not clarify the circumstances around his use of the word.
However, when he responded “admitted” to the following statement, “You have made a racist remark while on duty as a police officer,” he provided an explanation.
“I have repeated a racist remark made by someone else, but I have not made a racist remark against another individual while on duty as a police officer,” he said.
The Post asked Kloeppel why Wilson “clarified under oath that he had made racist remarks only when repeating others but did not offer similar clarification when responding about his use of the n-word.”
Kloeppel replied that “responses to requests for admissions are not invitations to tell a story or give a substantial narrative.”
Department of Justice Investigation of Ferguson Police
Wilson’s fatal shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old in 2014 exposed friction between the city government and the largely Black community. Ferguson erupted into protests after a grand jury chose not to indict the officer.
Last year, the Ferguson city council voted to accept an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to reform the city’s police department.
In 2015, a DOJ investigation revealed systemic racial bias by police targeted Blacks and created a “toxic environment” in Ferguson. The report said the St. Louis suburb disproportionately arrested and issued traffic citations to Blacks to boost city revenue through fines, used police as a collection agency and created a culture of distrust that exploded when Wilson fatally shot Brown.
A filmmaker unearthed previously undisclosed footage of Brown recorded hours before he was fatally shot. The new video, which appears in the documentary “Stranger Fruit,” shows Brown in an earlier, seemingly more amicable exchange in the convenience store in the early morning before his killing. It has raised new questions about a suspected robbery that police said he committed in his final hours.