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Attorneys, Advocates Call For Body Cam Video To Be Released In Andrew Brown Jr. Case

The Elizabeth City, N.C., neighborhood where Andrew Brown Jr., was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy was blocked off for several hours last Wednesday.
Laura Pellicer
The Elizabeth City, N.C., neighborhood where Andrew Brown Jr., was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy was blocked off for several hours last Wednesday.

Calls for the release of video from the incident last week where Pasquotank County sheriff's deputies shot and killed a Black man are only getting louder.

Elizabeth City remains under a state of emergency Monday in anticipation there could be unrest around the release of body cam footage from a fatal shooting by a sheriff's deputy last week.

The video has still not been released to the public despite mounting pressure.

The family of the victim, 42-year-old Andrew Brown Jr., expected to have a chance to view the video Monday morning. According to their attorney Harry Daniels, Pasquotank County is in the process of redacting the footage before making it available. County officials indicated the video’s release would be delayed because they were working on blurring some faces in the recording.

"I was told by the district attorney that the family would get to see the raw footage," Harry Daniels, an attorney for Brown's family, said Monday. "Show the tape. If you ain't got nothing to hide, show the tape."

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has also joined the Brown family's legal team. Crump is also representing the family of George Floyd. And the mother of Eric Garner was also in Elizabeth City on Monday to show her support. Garner was killed by police in Staten Island, New York in 2014 after they confronted him for illegally selling cigarettes.

Crump told reporters Monday morning that the delay is meant to protect law enforcement officers at the same time as they release the warrants with negative details about Brown.

“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 said, adding 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.

Also in attendance at a press conference Monday morning was activist and attorney Bakari Sellers, a former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Sellers is also a CNN commentator and hosts a podcast for The Ringer. During the press conference, Sellers gave out the phone numbers of Sens. Joe Manchin (D – West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (D – Arizona), who haven’t yet signed onto the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“Call (Manchin’s) office and tell him we’re tired of Black folk dying,” Sellers said. “Just call the office and tell them how you feel.”

According to a report from the Associated Press, court documents say the search warrant being served when deputies shot and killed Brown says that investigators used information from an informant. The warrant has been cited as the reason that deputies came to Brown’s house last Wednesday. An eyewitness account and emergency scanner traffic indicated that Brown was driving away from the scene and may have been shot in the back.

The search warrant signed by a local judge 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 more than a year from Brown. The warrant said that in March, local narcotics officers used the informant to conduct controlled purchases of methamphetamine and cocaine on two separate occasions. The warrant says both buys were recorded. Previously disclosed arrest warrants from Dare County included charges of possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine and methamphetamine against Brown.

Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten has said that multiple deputies fired shots. Elizabeth City police were not involved in the shooting. Seven deputies are on leave pending a probe by the State Bureau of Investigation.

Calls have been growing to release deputy body camera footage of the incident, which is not public record in North Carolina. A judge must generally sign off on any release of body camera video. Wooten has said he would ask a local judge as early as Monday to allow the release of the footage. A coalition of media has also petitioned the court for its release, and city officials also plan to.

Mitchell Northam is a Digital Producer for WUNC. His past work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, SB Nation, the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press. He is a graduate of Salisbury University and is also a voter in the AP Top 25 poll for women's college basketball.
Celeste Gracia covers the environment for WUNC. She has been at the station since September 2019 and started off as morning producer.
Associated Press
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