It has been a week since unrest erupted in Missouri after a Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed teenager Michael Brown. Now, after Yahoo! News combed the Facebook page of Officer Wilson’s father, the first photos of the officer have gone public.
The Ferguson Police Department took days to release the identity of Officer Wilson because of death threats, and no photo of Wilson had been made public until Yahoo! did so on Saturday, a week after the shooting.
The online news service claims to have gotten access to the Facebook page of Wilson’s Father, John Wilson, and found a photo of the officer receiving a commendation awarded to him by the city during a town council meeting early in February of this year.
At the time, Wilson’s father noted that he was “very proud” of his son for having an exemplary record with the Ferguson police force.
Yahoo! released two images that were posted on Mr. Wilson’s Facebook page, one showing Officer Wilson shaking hands with Chief Jackson after receiving his award and a second showing the officer walking away from the dais, commendation in hand.
Officer Wilson’s father deleted his Facebook account immediately after Yahoo! News published the images.
But earlier in the week, Mr. Wilson noted on the Facebook page that his family was dealing with some hard times.
Without mentioning his son by name, John wrote, “Dear FB friends, our family is in need for prayers to be sent up for a family member. Circumstances do not allow for us to say anything further. Please pray with our family in mind. Put a covering of protection over our family member please.”
To err on the side of safety, Officer Wilson left his home in Ferguson and is staying at an undisclosed location.
Last week, Chief Jackson said that the department had received death threats against Wilson. He reported the same after another officer was incorrectly identified as the shooter on Thursday when the computer hacker group Anonymous gave out the name of the wrong officer.
Officer Wilson is a four-year veteran of the Ferguson department with no history of disciplinary actions. Friends have described him as a “gentle man” and a “quiet officer.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.