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North Carolina sheriff says he will ask judge to release bodycam footage of Andrew Brown Jr shooting


The family of Andrew Brown Jr have joined mounting calls for North Carolina officials to publicly release the police bodycam footage of his fatal shooting.

Brown Jr, 42, was shot and killed in his car Wednesday morning in Elizabeth City, 160 miles east of Raleigh, while officers were serving a drug-related search warrant. 

His death spurred an outcry from community members who demanded law enforcement accountability and the immediate release of deputies’ body camera footage. 

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 put further pressure on officials to make the videos public. 

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

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

‘America, here is the issue: a warrant is not a license to kill, even if a suspect supposedly drives away,’ Barber said at the news conference attended by several of Brown’s children and other family members.

‘A warrant is not permission to shoot someone,’ he added.

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. 

In a video statement released later on Saturday, Wooten responded to ‘false claims’ that his office had the power to make such a decision and said he plans to ask a local judge as early as Monday to make the videos public.   

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

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

Wooten said that he would first check with the State Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the shooting, to make sure that releasing the video would not hamper their efforts.

‘Only a judge can release the video. 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. 

‘Once I get that confirmation, our county will file a motion in court, hopefully Monday, to have the footage released.’ 

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.

Andrew Brown, 42, was shot and killed by sheriffs in North Carolina on Wednesday morning

Andrew Brown, 42, was shot and killed by sheriffs in North Carolina on Wednesday morning

Under North Carolina law, a judge must generally sign off on the release of law enforcement body camera footage. 

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 in an Elizabeth City neighborhood. 

Leaders of the Elizabeth City government have demanded the release of the footage, and a coalition of media filed a petition in court to make it public. 

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

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

Demonstrators march on Thursday in Elizabeth City in reaction to the death of Andrew Brown

The Elizabeth City Council held a press conference after an emergency meeting to address the shooting

The Elizabeth City Council held a press conference after an emergency meeting to address the shooting

The state’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statement calling for the swift release of the footage.

During the news conference, racial justice advocates joined Brown’s relatives in reiterating calls for police to release the footage.

‘We’re sick and tired of all these deaths happening that don’t have to happen,’ Barber said. ‘Release the tapes!’

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. Nearby Dare County had issued two arrest warrants for Brown on drug-related charges including possession with intent to sell cocaine. 

Brown had 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.

A demonstrator wears a shirt with an image of Andrew Brown Jr. on it during a march, Thursday

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. 





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