Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund

Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund

LELDF: Although Exonerated, Officer Wilson Still a Victim

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Ron Hosko, former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) assistant director and current president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, responded to the decision by a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, not to charge Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death resulting from a confrontation with 18-year-old Michael Brown, saying:

“While the legal system has exonerated Officer Darren Wilson for his split-second decision on that August afternoon, he very much remains a victim of a politicized agenda that deemed him ‘guilty until proven innocent.’ Although he will walk free, his life has been forever changed, as he has been exploited in a cynical effort to turn civilians against cops in fulfillment of an anti-law enforcement agenda.

“The president, the attorney general and many others who presume to be speaking for them have put a rush to judgment ahead of a need to determine, and base words and actions on, the facts. Now a grand jury has, presumably after hearing all of the available facts, delivered this result, the question Americans should ask is, ‘Where do we go from here?’ The coming days may well define the narrative for the coming years. Some will reject the grand jury’s decision out of hand, with no additional facts and no regard to the factors leading to the loss of Michael Brown’s life. Others will embrace the decision and not bother with the details that led to it.

“The long-term effects of the politicization of this case are chilling. Statements by people in power, people the citizens should trust and respect, have only served to divide. Opportunists, knowing, first-hand, absolutely nothing that happened on that Ferguson street on August 9th, have done what many would expect them to do – find some personal advantage in a crisis.

“Contempt of law enforcement will do little to heal Ferguson or the rift it has highlighted in our country. Likewise, contempt by law enforcement officers for the people they are sworn to serve and protect is myopic and counterproductive.

“Although it’s clear that some who have weighed in on this case are incapable of meaningful introspection or concern about the damage they leave in their wake, we hope some true leaders emerge from these events, that voices on each side of the ongoing debate on policing can be heard and understood by the other side, and that some tangible, productive results follow.

“We hope Officer Wilson and his family remain safe during what is likely to be tumultuous fallout from this case and in resuming his law enforcement career if that is his desire. It will be a long road ahead for them. For law enforcement everywhere, the situation in Ferguson has served as a painful reminder of the perils police face in doing an already dangerous job.

“Had this case gone to trial, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund would have been proud to contribute to the defense of Officer Wilson as we advocate for justice for all unfairly accused law enforcement officers.”

###

Founded in 1995, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Foundation (LELDF) protects law enforcement professionals by fighting for their legal rights. The organization identifies and supports, through financial and legal assistance, law enforcement professionals and their families. Since 2000, LELDF has contributed more than $2 million to such causes. It is a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) organization funded entirely by the generosity of private donors. ​