Andrew Brown Jr. shooting
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Andrew Brown shooting: family bracing themselves ahead of body-cam viewing

The family of Andrew Brown Jr, a Black man killed by police in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, last week, were bracing themselves for a viewing of body-camera footage on Monday morning.

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But anger mounted on Monday morning after the assigned 11.30am appointment for the family to be shown the video by local law enforcement came and went. According to lawyers for the Brown family, they were informed that there would be a delay because parts of the footage had to be redacted.

Elizabeth City, officials declared a state of emergency Monday ahead of the possible public release of body camera footage of the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. during a drug-related warrant executed by sheriff’s deputies last week.

Monday marks six days since the shooting happened on April 21, and authorities so far have provided limited information regarding the circumstances under which Brown was killed. Meanwhile, protests demanding transparency have persisted in Elizabeth City, a municipality of about 18,000 people 165 miles northeast of Raleigh.

Local media have reported that the family will finally get to see the video after an agonizing wait following Wednesday’s shooting, which happened during the serving of a drug warrant.

Brown’s family and their attorneys will privately be shown the video at the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office at 11:30 a.m. ET Monday and will hold a news conference immediately following. Ben Crump, the high-profile civil rights attorney who secured the $27 million civil lawsuit in Minneapolis for the family of George Floyd, as well as attorneys Harry Daniels, Bakari Sellers and Brown’s relatives, will be present.

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools will operate on a full remote schedule for all students and staff through Friday “due to the continuously evolving state of civil unrest in our local community and under the advisement of our local law enforcement partners.”

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“Schools will share additional information regarding the remote learning schedule with families,” a statement posted to Facebook on Sunday said. “We appreciate your support and understanding during this time.”

It’s unclear when the body camera footage will be released publicly.

Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said in a recorded video statement Saturday that he would file a motion in court to ask a local judge as early as Monday to allow its release. Wooten said he would first check with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the fatal 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,” Wooten said. “Once I get that confirmation, our county will file a motion in court, hopefully Monday, to have the footage released.”

Wooten released the statement just after a family attorney, local clergy and civil rights leaders, including the Rev. William Barber II, who leads the Poor People’s Campaign, held a news conference to demand that the footage be released.

“They just want to sweep this under the rug,” said the civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, one of the family’s lawyers, at a press conference in Elizabeth City. “If we do not have transparency, we can never get to accountability.”

He went on: “They want to redact the face of the police officers who killed Andrew Brown. Andrew Brown didn’t kill nobody, the police killed Andrew Brown, but we are going to protect them and not show their face.”

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According to an eye witness, deputies fired at Brown, 42, as he tried to drive away.

Dispatch audio has been captured in which a first responder can be heard saying: “Be advised EMS has one male, 42 years of age, gunshot to the back.” A car taken from the site of Brown’s death was reported to have a shattered back window.

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, 42, had a criminal history dating back to the 1990s, including past drug convictions.

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 his neighborhood.

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