The family of Andrew Brown Jr, a Black man killed last week by North Carolina police, says local authorities only showed them 20 seconds of body camera video on Monday of the extended, multi-officer encounter that led to the 42-year-old’s “execution”.
“Twenty seconds is not transparency when you got multiple officers gunning down a man with his hands on the steering wheel trying to get away,” an attorney for the family said at a press conference after reviewing the footage. “We will have justice.”
Former South Carolina congressman and CNN analyst Bakari Sellers, who is also assisting the family, said Pasquotank County Attorney R Michael Cox declined to show Mr Brown’s relatives any more than 20 seconds from a single police body camera. That despite the fact that the video suggests seven or eight officers total were on the scene that day in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, according to the family.
“I have never been talked to like I was talked to in there,” Mr Sellers said. “Mr Cox told me, a grown Black man, that he was ‘not f— going to be bullied.’”
The Independent has reached out to Mr Cox as well as the county sheriff for comment.
According to the Brown family and their attorneys, based on what they saw, police likely began shooting at Mr Brown before the brief clip begins.
Once the video starts, they added, Mr Brown continues complying and keeping his hands on the wheel of his car, as seven to eight officers, some brandishing assault rifles, fire countless shots through the back window of the vehicle and yell obscenities. Eventually, Mr Brown tries to flee, before crashing into a nearby tree as officers continue firing.
“It’s like we against all odds in this world,” Khalil, Mr Brown’s son, said on Monday after watching the video. “My dad got executed just by trying to save his own life.”
County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed Mr Brown in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on Wednesday as they attempted to serve him with an arrest warrant, according to the sheriff’s office. Witnesses say police shot Mr Brown as he was driving away from officers.
Local media organisations like WAVY, as well as the Elizabeth City Council and the county sheriff, have petitioned a local court to release the body camera footage to the public.
“As my eight-year-old daughter would understand, they are trying to hide something,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Brown family, said on Monday. “They don’t want us to see everything.”
Prior to showing the family the footage, county attorney Cox said in a statement that officials had delayed releasing the video to blur out faces so as to protect sensitive details in an active investigation.
“The law also allows us to blur some faces on the video and that process takes time,” he said. “This may be done when necessary to protect an active internal investigation. As soon as these redactions are complete, we will allow the family to view this footage.”
Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and the surrounding Pasquotank County both declared a state of emergency on Monday ahead of the anticipated public release of body camera footage.
Elizabeth City mayor Bettie Parker said she expects a “period of civil unrest” once the video is released to the public.
Peaceful protests have continued through the week in Elizabeth City and beyond following Mr Brown’s killing.
A police drug task force had been watching Mr Brown for more than a year, WAVY reported, and officers searched his home the morning he was killed.
Mr Brown’s family said they were told no drugs or weapons had been recovered from his home or his car during searches.
Seven deputies were put on paid administrative leave following the shooting.
The killing came on the heels of two other high profile cases involving police slaying Black men. A day before Mr Brown was killed, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, during an arrest for a counterfeit $20 bill last May. On 11 April, as the Chauvin trial was ongoing, police in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was also unarmed, during a traffic stop.
An ABC11 investigation found evidence that Black people in North Carolina have a history of being over-policed. In 2018, Black people were arrested five times more often than white people. In some 250 jurisdictions, Black people were 10 times more likely to be arrested.
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