The Ferguson police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown has resigned.
Darren Wilson, who had been on administrative leave since the August 9 shooting, resigned effective immediately, according to his lawyer, Neil Bruntrager, who declined further comment Saturday. An attorney for Brown's family didn't immediately return messages seeking comment.
More than 100 protesters gathered near police headquarters, where they were outnumbered by officers, following the news. At least one person was arrested after a brief standoff, but many seemed unfazed by the resignation. Several shrugged.
"We were not after Wilson's job," civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton added later in a written statement. "We were after Michael Brown's justice."
Brown, who was black, was unarmed when Wilson, who is white, fatally shot him in the middle of a Ferguson street, where his body was left for several hours as police investigated and angry onlookers gathered.
A protester holds up a sign while demonstrating against Brown's shooting, outside of Macy's in Herald Square during the Black Friday shopping day in New York on Friday. (Reuters photo)
Some witnesses have said Brown had his hands up when Wilson shot him. Wilson told a grand jury that he feared for his life when Brown hit him and reached for his gun. The grand jury later decided not to indict him.
For some Americans on opposite sides of a national debate,
Brown has now become a symbol
, epitomising their polarised views on who bears the blame for the toll of young black men killed by police officers.
Brown was a gentle giant, in one version. A defiant troublemaker, in another.
Yet as more details of the 18-year-old's life and death emerge, his legacy in the eyes of many is more nuanced, reflecting the ups and downs and challenges faced by many young Americans. New protests - sometimes violent - erupted around the country this week after a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson who shot the unarmed Brown.
Wilson, who had been with the Ferguson Police Department for less than three years, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he decided to step down after the department told him it had received threats of violence if he remained on the force.
"I'm not willing to let someone else get hurt because of me," Wilson told the newspaper.
Ferguson officials planned to make a statement on Wilson's resignation Sunday, said Stephanie Karr, city attorney for Ferguson. Karr earlier this week said Wilson had been on paid leave pending the outcome of an internal police investigation.
The US Justice Department is conducting a civil rights investigation into the shooting and a separate investigation of police department practices.
In the days after the shooting, tense and sometimes violent protests occurred in and around Ferguson, a predominantly black community patrolled by a mostly white police force. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called in the National Guard to help.
On Monday night, when prosecutors announced that the grand jury declined to indict Wilson, the St. Louis suburb of 20,000 residents was ravaged by looting and violence. By Tuesday, Nixon had sent more than 2,200 National Guard members to the area.
Though protests calmed significantly, more than 100 people have been arrested since Monday.
Demonstrations, which also have been held other US cities, were expected to continue.
A woman lies in the street during a demonstration against the grand jury's decision in the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown, in Los Angeles on Friday. (Reuters photo)