Lawyers for the family of Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man shot by sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina last week, said body cam video showed Brown had been “executed” and accused officials of showing them only a small portion of the video evidence.
Lawyers for the family said the 42-year-old Brown had his hands on the steering wheel of his car and was complying with police orders when he was gunned down, leaving a trail of shell casings in the driveway of his home in Elizabeth City.
“They were shooting and saying ‘Let me see your hands!’ at the same time,” Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, one of a team of lawyers for the family, told a news briefing on Monday.
“Let’s be clear: this was an execution,” Cherry-Lassiter said.
Another lawyer for Brown’s family, Harry Daniels, told reporters earlier Monday that Brown was shot in the “back of the head,” The Associated Press reported.
State of emergency
The shooting has rattled Elizabeth City, a riverfront community of about 18,000 residents, half of whom are African Americans.
The city, the county seat of Pasquotank County, had declared a state of emergency before the video was released.
Sheriff Tommy Wooten and Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg, in a video posted on social media last week, said the shooting occurred as deputies were trying to serve an arrest warrant and search warrant on Brown stemming from a felony drug charge.
Ben Crump, a lawyer for the family, said there was evidence from at least nine cameras, including police body cam and dash cam videos, but that the victim’s lawyers were shown only a 20-second portion from a single body cam video after Pasquotank County Attorney Michael Cox decided against showing more.
“We do not feel we got transparency. We only saw a snippet of the video,” Crump said. “They were going to show the whole video, then decided at the last minute they were going to redact it.”
Wooten and Cox did not respond to requests for comment.
Cox had issued a statement earlier on Monday to explain why it was taking so long to release video evidence. Cox said state law allowed officials to blur faces if needed to protect an active internal investigation, and the process took time.
Wooten said last week that the investigation of the shooting has been turned over to the State Bureau of Investigation, and he said it has the body camera video.
The shooting last Wednesday, a day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd after a highly publicized trial, has so far led to small, peaceful protests in Elizabeth City.
Wooten’s office said on Friday that seven sheriff’s deputies were placed on administrative leave after the shooting, and that three additional deputies had resigned, though the resignations were not related to the shooting.