In testimony to a grand jury, police office Darren Wilson said Michael Brown looked like a “demon” in the moments before Wilson shot and killed him.

Wilson said grabbing the 18-year-old Brown, who reportedly weighed nearly 300 pounds, was like “a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan,” and that his fear for his own safety led to the shooting.


The release of the grand jury transcripts provides the first full account of Wilson’s version of events available to the public. It largely lines up with the narrative presented by prosecutor Robert McCulloch at a press conference announcing the grand jury’s decision.

A grand jury on Monday found no cause to bring an indictment against Wilson on five separate charges. The decision triggered violent demonstrations and looting in Ferguson, Mo., where police clashed with protesters through the night.

It has also sparked protests across the nation about the treatment of African-Americans by police. Wilson is white, and Brown was black.

Wilson characterized Brown as aggressive and intimidating in his account to the grand jury. He repeatedly said he feared for his life. The law says that he needed to have a reasonable fear that there was a threat to his life in order for his shooting to have been permissible.

While Wilson was driving, he said he saw Brown and a friend walking in the middle of the street. He told the jury he pulled up alongside the friend and asked them to move to the sidewalk — the friend told him that they were close to their destination. He said that Brown then cursed at him.

Wilson said, at that point, he saw that Brown was holding cigarillos — small cigars. He said that, while on an earlier call, he had heard a report that two people had stolen cigarillos from a convenience store in Ferguson, and one was wearing a black shirt. He said he saw that Brown's friend was wearing a black shirt.

Wilson said that he opened the door of his car a few inches, but that Brown shut it. Wilson said that when he opened it again, Brown moved towards him — with Brown standing and Wilson still seated on the driver's side of the car. Wilson told the jury that Brown then hit him in the face.

The officer claimed that during the fight, he considered using several non-lethal weapons against Brown. But he claimed that he could not reach his mace, flashlight, or baton without making himself vulnerable.

He told the jury he reached for his gun and that Brown then grabbed the weapon and drove it into his hip.

Wilson said that he drew his gun because he thought Brown could kill him.

“I felt that another one of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse,” Wilson told the jury.

Photos of Wilson taken in a hospital that day and released by McCulloch's office on Monday show that Wilson's face was reddened and possibly scratched, but that it was not bleeding or cut.

Wilson said that he could feel Brown's fingers reach for the trigger guard and said that he worried Brown would shoot him in his leg.

He said that he managed to push the gun away, but that when he pulled the trigger is appeared to be jammed.

The gun then went off and shattered the driver's side window, Wilson said. The officer claimed that when he looked at Brown next, the teenager had “the most intense aggressive face.”

“The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that's how angry he looked,” Wilson said, saying that Brown came towards him with his “hands up.”

Wilson said that Brown hit him again and that he racked his gun and fired it.

Brown then fled. Wilson pursued him. Brown turned around, according to Wilson, and they both stopped.

Wilson said that Brown appeared to begin to move toward him. He said that as Brown took a step forward, he made a fist with one hand and put his other hand under his shirt — which obscured his waistband. Brown was not armed.

Wilson said that he was yelling for Brown to get on the ground throughout this portion of the altercation.

Wilson told the jury that he fired on Brown, missing at least a few shots. Wilson said that he saw Brown continue to come toward him.

“At this point it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I'm shooting at him,” Wilson told the jury.

Wilson claimed to have moved backwards, fearing that Brown would kill him. He said Brown got within “8 to 10” feet of him and that he thought he would tackle him — though he also said that Brown's hands were still at his side and under his shirt.

The officer then shot Brown and killed him.

“I remember looking at my sites and firing, all I see is his head and that's what I shot,” he said.

“And then when the [last shot] went into him, the demeanor in his face went blank, the aggression was gone, it was gone, I mean, I knew he stopped, the threat was stopped,” he told the jury.

— This story was updated at 11:32 a.m.