North Carolina officials faced mounting pressure on Thursday to post body camera footage of the death of Andrew Brown Jr., a black man who was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy on Wednesday morning in Elizabeth City.
Brown was unarmed when he was shot and killed, said Harry Daniels, the Brown family’s lawyer. Witness accounts paint a picture of an “unlawful and wrongful murder” in which several law enforcement officers shot as Brown fled in a vehicle, Daniels said at a press conference Thursday.
“To my knowledge, there are body camera footage of this incident, and it has not been released. A lot of speculation is going on – we are asking for answers, accountability and transparency,” Daniels said. “This is something we demand immediate release.”
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation said Thursday it was continuing to investigate the incident, but only the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office or the District Attorney’s Office can release the footage of the incident. body camera. Neither bureau immediately responded to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
For many, the sense of relief brought on Tuesday by former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict in the George Floyd murder was short-lived. Reports of other police killings emerged hours later, including that of Brown and 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who was fatally shot Tuesday night by police in Columbus, Ohio. .
Crowds of people – dozens at the scene of the shooting and later hundreds of people demonstrating on the streets of Elizabeth City – called on police to immediately release more details. Elizabeth City is located approximately 170 miles northeast of Raleigh.
“The people of Elizabeth City … they want the right to know what happened this morning,” City Councilor Darius J. Horton said Wednesday. “There was a moment of suffering in Elizabeth City.”
The assistant, who has not been identified, was serving a search warrant at Brown’s rental home on Wednesday when Brown was shot and killed around 8:30 a.m. According to a witness, Brown was trying to escape.
Demetria Williams, Brown’s neighbor, told The Associated Press that she ran outside after hearing a gunshot and then saw the MP shoot Brown several times. She also said the car skidded out of Brown’s yard and hit a tree.
“When they opened the door he was already dead,” Williams said. “He was slumped. She said officers attempted chest compressions on Brown.
Authorities removed from the scene a car that appeared to have multiple bullet holes and a broken rear windshield, The Associated Press reported.
What are the protesters asking for?
While an emergency city council meeting was underway on Wednesday, protesters began to gather outside, watching the live broadcast of the meeting on their phones, according to WAVY-TV.
The protests continued into the night, with around 200 people marching through the city center asking police to post body camera footage, the TV station reported.
The protests ended before 10 p.m., but protesters vowed to be back at the sheriff’s office on Thursday at 5 p.m. if the body camera footage is not released.
At a press conference Thursday, Pasquotank NAACP chairman Keith Rivers said that by not releasing the footage, the sheriff’s department “has failed to create … transparency.”
“A lot of times it’s not the act, but it’s what we do after the act that determines who and what we are,” Rivers said. “Broadcasting body camera images as early as possible is essential to create the transparency our community needs.”
Councilor Quentin Jackson, who told WRAL he knew Brown, called on the sheriff to “give the people answers.”
“No other county leader has come here to stand out here with the people,” Jackson said. “And the sheriff should come here.”
Public schools in the city said they were implementing distance learning on Thursday “because of community concerns and out of caution,” although they did not explicitly cite the protests,
What do we know about the member?
Sheriff Tommy Wooten II told a press conference on Wednesday that the MP was wearing a body camera and had been put on leave.
Wooten did not identify the deputy. He also did not say how many shots were fired or what the warrant for Brown was used for.
“What we are looking for right now will be precise answers, not quick answers,” prosecutor Andrew Womble Womble said at a press conference. “We will wait for a full and complete investigation … and we will review it and make any decisions we deem appropriate at that time. It will not be a rush to judgment. “
Who was Andrew Brown Jr.?
Williams said his neighbors knew Brown, 42, as Drew and he was not a violent person.
“He was not a threat to (the officers). He was leaving even if he tried to escape, ”Williams said.
Brown’s aunt Martha McCullen, who said she raised him after his parents died, described him as a good person and a good father.
“The police didn’t have to shoot my baby,” she told The Associated Press. “He was about to get his children back … Now his children will never see him again.”
Brown had 7 children, according to Daniels, and cared for others who were not his biologically.
Court records show Brown had a history of drug charges and a drug possession misdemeanor conviction.
Contribute: The Associated Press