Ferguson white officer testified he feared for his life in confrontation with black teen

FERGUSON - The white police officer who shot dead a black teenager in Ferguson, triggering months of protests, recalled that he felt like a powerless child sitting inside his patrol vehicle as the fist of the teenager swung through his open window.

Just moments later, 28-year-old Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown, 18, in an incident that has sharply divided the country amid conflicting accounts of what happened in the middle of a street in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug 9.

Newly released documents detail his crucial testimony to a grand jury that eventually declined to indict him, revealing what happened from his perspective.

Wilson, who is about 1.95m tall and weighs 95 kg, said he struggled with Brown, who was similarly tall and 130kg, from inside his police car.

"I felt like a 5-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan," he said.

Brown's family and supporters have maintained a different version of events, saying the unarmed teenaged was the victim of an officer who aggressively confronted their son and then shot him while his hands were raised in a sign of surrender.

Events began to unfold, Wilson told the grand jury that he stopped Brown about halfway into a 12-hour shift, which began at 6.30am, and observed that he was holding cigarillos that had just been reported stolen from a nearby store.

The first thing he noticed about Brown was how big he was, walking in the middle of a road with a smaller friend, Dorian Johnson.

Wilson, who has been on paid administrative leave since the shootings, did not learn their names until the next day, according to testimony, in which he described the neighbo-rhood as being "anti-police" and acknowledged being on high alert.

Initially, he said, he tried to talk to Brown from inside his police vehicle, but the teen cursed at Wilson and then lunged at him.

Brown landed two punches to his face, Wilson testified, adding that he feared a third could have been deadly.

With no taser in his car, Wilson considered using mace or a flashlight in defence, but the five-year police veteran said he felt neither would be effective.

'Get back'

He drew his gun, which Brown had grabbed and twisted until it dug into Wilson's hip, Wilson testified.

"I said: 'Get back or I'm going to shoot you,'" Wilson recalled saying. "He immediately grabs my gun and says: 'You are too much of a pussy to shoot me.' "

Wilson said he fired a shot from inside the vehicle, shattering the window. It was the first time he had fired his weapon at someone on duty, he said.

According to Wilson's testimony, Brown stepped back, then lunged again. Wilson fired again and Brown began to run. Wilson exited the car and chased him.

Across the street, Brown stopped and turned to face Wilson.

Wilson said he told Brown to get on the ground. Brown did not. Backing up rapidly, Wilson fired multiple rounds of shots.

"I know if he reaches me, he kills me," Wilson testified.

Wilson said he did not know how many bullets struck Brown, who was shot six or seven times.

Brown fell face forward, and Wilson said he knew he was dead.

Later, when police backup arrived at the shooting scene, a sergeant asked Wilson what had happened.

"I said, I had to kill him," according to his testimony.