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Ferguson

Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson reportedly says he feared for his life before shooting

Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot unarmed, black teenager Michael Brown in August, told investigators he was fearful for his life in the moments before he fired at Brown, The New York Times reports.

Officials who were briefed on the ongoing investigation say Wilson told investigators Brown physically assaulted him, punching and scratching the police officer during a scuffle that took place inside Wilson's police vehicle. The Times notes that Wilson's statements mark the first public ones he has made during the federal civil rights investigation of the case. However, the police officer's account does not explain why he shot Brown several times once Wilson exited his vehicle.

While Wilson's version of events leading up to the shooting directly contradicts several witness accounts, officials who spoke with the Times said the evidence thus far would not make it easy for the Justice Department to press civil rights charges.