A year since Michael Brown

Based on this profile, Darren Wilson hasn’t learned much in the past year

Photo by St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office via Getty Images

The New Yorker has published a profile of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown almost exactly one year ago.

While the piece doesn’t reveal much new information about Brown’s death, the resulting protests, or the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson last November, it does present a portrait of a man who opts not to confront reality at every turn. Here are some quotes from the profile that demonstrate that mindset.

On how killing Michael Brown has affected his career:

“It’s too hot an issue, so it makes me unemployable,” [Wilson] said. He tried not to brood about it: “I bottle everything up.”

On whether he’d read the Department of Justice’s report on the Ferguson Police Department’s institutionalized racism:

“I don’t have any desire,” [Wilson] said. “I’m not going to keep living in the past about what Ferguson did. It’s out of my control.”

On whether he thinks racism, and the legacy of past racism, affects young black people in the present:

“[Older people] who experienced [overt racism in past decades], and were mistreated, have a legitimate claim,” [Wilson] told me. “Other people don’t.” I asked him if he thought that young people in North County and elsewhere used this legacy as an excuse. “I think so,” he replied.

“I am really simple in the way that I look at life,” Wilson said. “What happened to my great-grandfather is not happening to me. I can’t base my actions off what happened to him.”

On how he explained televised broadcasts of the Ferguson protests to his stepson:

“I said, ‘Well, I had to shoot somebody.’ And he goes, ‘Well, why did you shoot him? Was he a bad guy?’ I said, ‘Yeah, he was a bad guy.’”

On the kind of restaurants he and his wife go to now that he’s trying to keep a low profile:

“We try to go somewhere—how do I say this correctly?—with like-minded individuals,” [Wilson] said. “You know. Where it’s not a mixing pot.”

On whether he reflects on what kind of person Michael Brown was:

“You do realize that his parents are suing me?” [Wilson] said. “So I have to think about him.” He went on, “Do I think about who he was as a person? Not really, because it doesn’t matter at this point. Do I think he had the best upbringing? No. Not at all.”