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Sheriff: Deputies Who Didn't Fire At Andrew Brown Jr. Back On Duty

 A protestor in Elizabeth City on April 27, 2021 holds a sign with a hashtag in reference to the family of Andrew Brown being given only 20 seconds of footage.
Peyton Sickles
for WUNC
A protestor in Elizabeth City on April 27, 2021 holds a sign with a hashtag in reference to the family of Andrew Brown being given only 20 seconds of footage.

A North Carolina sheriff said Thursday that he has put four deputies involved in the case of a Black man who was fatally shot last week back on active duty after a review of body camera video showed they did not fire their weapons.

Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten announced in a news release that he has restored to duty four out of the seven deputies who were placed on administrative leave after the shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr.

Wooten released the names of all seven deputies who went to Brown's residence to serve arrest and search warrants. He said the three deputies who fired their weapons will remain on leave until an investigation is completed.

Back on active duty are Lt. Steven Judd and Sgts. Michael Swindell, Kenneth Bishop, and Joel Lundsford. Still on administrative leave are Investigator Daniels Meads, Deputy Sheriff Robert Morgan, and Cpl. Aaron Lewellyn.

"After reviewing the preliminary conclusions of the independent investigators conducting the internal review, and after carefully examining the body camera footage of the incident with my own staff, it's obvious that four of the deputies never fired their weapons and deserve to be reinstated to active duty," Wooten said.

On Wednesday, Pitt County Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster ordered that video footage from body cameras worn by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies during the shooting won’t be immediately released publicly.

Foster completely denied a request from a group of media outlets, including WUNC, for the release of footage. On the second petition for the release of the video footage – filed by the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office on behalf of Brown’s son Khalil Ferebee – Foster ruled that Ferebee, Brown’s other immediate family, and one attorney licensed to practice law in North Carolina can view the footage within 10 days, after it has been redacted to blur out the identities of the officers involved.

Foster said that the video will be released to Ferebee and the family in no less than 30, but no more than 45 days.

The footage includes multiple videos from several body cameras and dash cameras. So far, Brown’s family has only seen 20 seconds of redacted footage from one of those videos. Pasquotank sheriff's deputies shot and killed Brown last Wednesday while they were carrying out drug-related search and arrest warrants.

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