Officer Darren Wilson suffered severe injuries to his face, including a fractured eye socket, during an altercation that ended in the shooting death of Michael Brown on August 9, according to sources close to the Ferguson, Mo. police department.
There is also “solid proof” that Brown tried to gain control of Wilson’s weapon, a source told Fox News.
Police sources had already claimed that Wilson’s face was swollen following the incident, but Fox’s report — which backs another earlier report from the blog Gateway Pundit — suggests that the injuries were quite severe.
“The Assistant [Police] Chief took [Wilson] to the hospital, his face all swollen on one side,” Fox News’ source said. “He was beaten very severely,” the source added, claiming that Wilson was almost knocked unconscious.
Wilson has reportedly claimed that during an encounter in the street in which he told Brown and his friend to move out of the middle of the street, Brown assaulted him and shoved him back into his police cruiser. Wilson’s gun was discharged within the car, though it is unclear who fired the shot.
Following the blow to the head, the six-year veteran pursued Brown as he fled.
By all accounts, Brown turned around to face Wilson at some point. Wilson reportedly claims that Brown charged him, while some witnesses have told the media that Brown stood still and attempted to surrender by putting his hands in the air. Another unnamed witness was recorded in the background of a video posted to YouTube saying that he saw Brown move toward Wilson after turning around. A friend of Wilson’s who called into a radio show last week and whose version of the story reportedly matches Wilson’s, said that Brown “bum-rushed” Wilson.
In all, at least six bullets struck Brown. Four hit him in the right arm; two hit him in the head, including the fatal one.
The account from Fox News’ source is at odds with one part of the story line that Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson and Wilson’s friend say happen.
“They ignored him and the officer started to get out of the car to tell them to move,” the source told Fox. “They shoved him right back in, that’s when Michael Brown leans in and starts beating Officer Wilson in the head and the face.”
Jackson and Wilson’s friend have said that after initially confronting Brown and his friend in the street, Wilson continued forward down the road. But he reversed his car back to the pair after he received a police dispatch call describing a man who looked like Brown who was involved in a strong-arm robbery. It was later found that Brown was involved in the strong-arm robbery, in which he stole a box of cigars and shoved a store clerk.
What caused Wilson to double back to confront Brown will likely prove crucial in determining if the shooting was justified.