The family of Andrew Brown Jr. say his killing at the hands of North Carolina cops was an ‘execution’ after they were allowed to watch just 20 seconds of the fatal shooting on Monday.
Brown Jr, 42, was killed in his car last Wednesday morning in Elizabeth City, while officers were serving a drug-related search warrant.
His family were finally allowed to watch the police body cam from the incident Monday. But speaking outside the Sheriff’s office attorney Ben Crump told reporters they had been allowed to see just 20 seconds of the shooting.
After watching the footage Brown’s son Khalil told reporters: ‘My dad got executed just trying to save his life. It is messed up how this happened. He got executed.’
Attorneys for the family said Brown had his hands on the steering wheel as he was shot at by up to eight officers. They said the clip they saw began as shots were already being fired, adding that Brown complied with officer commands throughout.
Commenting on the length of the video shown to the family Crump said: ‘They are trying to hide something.’
Court documents released Monday show deputies obtained the search warrant that brought them to Brown after investigators recorded him selling small amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine to an informant.
Seven deputies have been placed on leave amid indications, including emergency scanner traffic and an eyewitness account, that Brown was shot in the back as he tried to drive away.
The city’s mayor had earlier declared a state of emergency over the shooting.
County officials indicated that showing family the clip had been delayed because they were working on blurring some faces in the recording.
Attorney Ben Crump holds the arm of Khalil Brown, who called his dad’s death an execution
Andrew Brown’s youngest daughter listens to Attorney Benjamin Crump Monday, left. Harry Daniels, right, who is representing the family of Andrew Brown, speak outside the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office in Elizabeth City
Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, center left, joined the Brown family Monday
Brown, 42, father of 10 children, was shot and killed in his car at around 8.30am in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, while police were executing search-and-arrest warrants for drug offenses, officials said
Describing the footage in more detail Monday afternoon the family’s attorney said Brown had been in his driveway when he was blocked in by officers who were in a marked police vehicle. She said they ‘lost count’ on how many shots were fire.
She also said deputies ‘rode up to his car while shooting’. When Brown ‘finally tries to get away to get out of danger’ he backs out away from officers who were allegedly shouting obscenities at him.
The attorney added: ‘At no time was he threatening officers.’
When his car runs into a tree, the officers are said to have continued shooting at him, leaving his vehicle ‘riddled with bullets’.
The family noted that despite multiple officers being at the scene they were allowed to see just one clip from officer who was furthest from the scene.
Gunfire had already started in the clip they were shown, they said, and there was no indication as to what had happened in the moments before the shooting.
Crump confirmed a press conference Tuesday at 11am to discuss autopsy results.
He had earlier said: ‘It’s clear to us there is something bad on that bodycam video. Transparency is essential.’
Crump had said Monday: ‘Now, you all may have noticed that they released a warrant saying all kinds of things about Andrew Brown, but they want to redact the face of the … officers that killed Andrew Brown.
He added that law officials blurring deputies’ faces are ‘going to protect them and not show their face and not say their names … because what they want to do is assassinate the character’ of Brown.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II has said that multiple deputies fired shots. Elizabeth City police were not involved in the shooting.
Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools are also operating remotely until at least Friday ‘due to the continuously evolving state of civil unrest’.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten has said ‘only a judge can release the video’, adding: ‘That’s why I’ve asked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to confirm for me that the releasing of the video will not undermine their investigation.’ He said he hopes to file a motion for its release Monday.
Brown’s death spurred an outcry from community members who demanded law enforcement accountability and the immediate release of deputies’ body camera footage.
Witnesses said Brown got into his car (pictured) and was driving away when the deputy opened fire
Demonstrators gather outside a government building during an emergency city council meeting April 23, 2021 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Protestors block an intersection after an emergency city council meeting April 23, 2021 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina
The arrest warrant released Monday was obtained by the Pasquotank County sheriff´s office and signed by a local judge to allow the search of Brown’s Elizabeth City home.
It said that an investigator in nearby Dare County was told by the informant that the person had been purchasing crack cocaine and other drugs for over a year from Brown. The informant described purchasing drugs at the house that was the target of the search.
The warrant said that in March, local narcotics officers used the informant to conduct controlled purchases of methamphetamine and cocaine from Brown on two separate occasions.
It says both drug transactions were recorded using audio and video equipment.
The search warrant said investigators believed Brown was storing drugs in the home or two vehicles. The document, which indicated the search wasn’t completed, didn’t list anything found.
The arrest warrants, which were released last week, charged him with possession with intent to sell and deliver 3 grams of each of the drugs.
Racial justice advocates had joined Andrew Brown’s relatives on Saturday in reiterating calls for police to release bodycam footage of his fatal shooting in North Carolina this week
On Saturday, Brown’s family was joined by the local clergy and civil rights leaders including the Rev. William Barber II in Elizabeth City as they put further pressure on officials to make the videos public.
Rev. Barber said at the news conference attended by several of Brown’s children and other family members: ‘America, here is the issue: a warrant is not a license to kill, even if a suspect supposedly drives away.
‘A warrant is not permission to shoot someone.’
‘We’re sick and tired of all these deaths happening that don’t have to happen,’ Barber added. ‘Release the tapes!’
Keith Rivers, president of the Pasquotank County branch of the NAACP also spoke at the conference to call for Sheriff Tommy Wooten II’s resignation.
Wooten has said deputies from his department including a tactical team were attempting to serve drug-related search and arrest warrants when Brown was shot.
He said multiple deputies fired shots but he disclosed few other details.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II (right) said he will ask a judge to allow the release of bodycam footage of Wednesday’s shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr next week
In a video statement released later on Saturday, Wooten responded to ‘false claims’ that his office had the power to release the footage and said he plans to ask a local judge as early as Monday to make the videos public.
Asked for comment on Wooten’s remarks, SBI spokeswoman Anjanette Grube referred back to a statement earlier in the week that said ‘it is not the SBI’s decision as to when and how body camera video is released.’
The statement directed questions about the footage back to the sheriff and local prosecutor.
Under North Carolina law, a judge must generally sign off on the release of law enforcement body camera footage.
Leaders of the Elizabeth City government had also demanded the release of the footage, and a coalition of media filed a petition in court to make it public.
Andrew Brown, 42, was shot and killed by sheriffs in North Carolina on Wednesday morning
On Friday, the state’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statement calling for the swift release of the footage.
‘Initial reports of the shooting in Elizabeth City and death of Andrew Brown, Jr. this week are tragic and extremely concerning,’ Cooper tweeted.
‘The body camera footage should be made public as quickly as possible and the SBI should investigate thoroughly to ensure accountability.’
Police described Brown as someone who was well known to police, with a criminal history dating back to the 1990s, including past drug convictions.
On Friday, newly-released dispatch audio revealed Brown had been shot in the back while driving away from sheriff’s deputies.
‘Be advised EMS has one male, 42 years of age, gunshot to the back,’ the dispatcher says in the recording obtained by Broadcastify.
Kirk Rivers, president of the Pasquotank County chapter of the NAACP, leads a group of demonstrators as they block Ehringhaus Street, a main retail avenue in Elizabeth City, N.C., on Friday
Demonstrators march on Thursday in Elizabeth City in reaction to the death of Andrew Brown
A demonstrator wears a shirt with an image of Andrew Brown Jr. on it during a march, Thursday
They added: ‘We do have a viable pulse at this time.’ Later on, another transmission shared that Brown, a father of 10, had suffered ‘gunshot wounds.’
Neighbors Demetria Williams, who witnessed part of the shooting, said she never saw Brown carry a gun, and that deputies fired into his car as he was trying to get away from them.
He crashed his car moments later, with Williams saying she saw Brown ‘slumped’ in his vehicle as he died of his gunshot wounds.
Wooten on Friday told WAVY-TV that footage from multiple body cameras would be released ‘in the next couple days’ after protesters took to the streets for two nights in a row demanding that officers release the footage.
Protesters gathered across North Carolina Friday night as police in Raleigh declared one protest an ‘unlawful assembly’ at 8pm after a group allegedly threw trash cans into the street, WRAL reported.
‘We appreciate protestors resuming peaceful demonstrations and ask that they continue to do so until the end of the protest,’ Raleigh police tweeted.