Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, in his first interview since the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, told ABC News Tuesday that he’s not tormented by that fateful encounter in suburban St. Louis last summer.
“I don’t think it’s haunting,” Wilson said. “It’s always going to be something that happened. The reason I have a clean conscience is that I know I did my job right.”
Repeating what he told a grand jury investigating the shooting, Wilson said Brown reached into his police vehicle and grabbed for his gun. Wilson said he feared for his life.
“All I wanted to do was live,” Wilson told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
Wilson said Brown unloaded “a barrage of swinging and grabbing and pulling” and that he was struck on the left side of his face.
“I didn’t know if I’d be able to withstand another hit like that,” Wilson told ABC.
“I had reached out my window with my right hand to grab onto his forearm because I was going to try and move him back and get out of the car to where I’m no longer trapped,” the officer said.
“I just felt the immense power that he had. And then the way I’ve described it is, it was like a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan. That’s just how big this man was,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he urged Brown to back off or he would fire.
“You’re too much of a (bleeped) to shoot me,” Wilson claimed Brown told him.
Wilson told ABC that he was sorry for the loss of life but that he was simply doing his job and following his training.
The interview was the first by Wilson, who had not been seen in public since the August 9 shooting.
The death of Brown sparked violent demonstrations in the days after the shooting and again on Monday night, when it was announced that a Missouri grand jury would not charge Wilson.
Wilson said Brown charged at him and did not raise his hands in surrender, forcing Wilson to keep shooting.
In the hour-long interview, Wilson said he could not have done anything differently.
Asked if the incident would have turned out differently if Michael Brown had been white, Wilson said no, according to Stephanopoulos.
Wilson, 28, spent six years with the Ferguson police department before being placed on administrative leave following the shooting. Wilson worked for two years at another police department before that.
Wilson remains on leave, pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told reporters Tuesday.
“No decision has been made,” Knowles said. “His current employment status has not changed.”
Last week, people close to the talks told CNN that the officer was in the final stages of negotiations with city officials to resign from the police department.
Wilson has told associates he would resign as a way to help ease pressure and protect his fellow officers.
The United States Justice Department is also investigating whether Wilson violated Brown’s civil rights.
In newly released transcripts of testimony that the grand jury heard while considering whether to bring charges in Brown’s death, Wilson told the jurors that he had never fired his gun on duty before that day.
Wilson told the grand jury his original goal was to arrest Brown, after identifying him as a possible suspect in a shop theft.
Wilson fired 12 shots, according to the grand jury proceedings.
The officer told the St. Louis County grand jury that two shots were fired during a struggle at his police vehicle and that he then fired three bursts of gunfire as he chased and later backed away from Brown. He testified that his Sig Sauer .40-caliber gun held a maximum of 13 bullets.