The family of a man slain by police says local authorities in North Carolina are refusing to release an extended version of police body camera footage showing officers fatally shooting Andrew Brown, Jr, a Black man killed in his car last week as police served an arrest warrant in Elizabeth City.
Pasquotank County Attorney R Michael Cox declined to show Mr Brown’s relatives any more than 20 seconds from a single police body camera, according to former congressman and political analyst Bakari Sellers, who is assisting the Brown family.
“I’ve 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***ing going to be bullied,’” he added.
The Independent has reached out to Mr Cox as well as the county sheriff for comment.
County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed Mr Brown 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.
Mr Brown’s family said they were only shown a brief “snippet” of what they believe is extensive body camera footage of the incident.
After a private viewing on Monday morning, the family told media members that the video shows seven or eight officers, including some armed with assault rifles, firing a hail of bullets at Mr Brown, who keeps his hands on the wheel of his car and complies with officers’ commands.
“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.”
Attorneys for the family said a court appearance on Wednesday could lead to a full release of the footage.
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.”
Police body camera footage formed the core of the recent Derek Chauvin trial, where the former Minneapolis police officer was convicted of murdering George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, after being recorded kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest last May.
Disparities between what was shown on policy body camera footage and how officers described their fatal 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old Black boy, turned into a major scandal that brought down numerous city officials. “16 shots and a cover-up!” became a common chant during citywide protests.
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