Newly obtained video shows the moment last week when sheriff’s deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, arrived on the scene and proceeded to shoot Andrew Brown, Jr, a 42-year-old Black man and father of seven, though the clip is unlikely to provide further clarity on what sequence of events led up to his death.
In the footage, obtained by Virginia-based TV station WAVY via a Freedom of Information Act Request, a city security camera shows a truck full of deputies in body armour. They are thought to be driving past the camera on their wave to serve Mr Brown with an arrest and search warrant as part of a drug investigation.
In a tweet, Ben Crump, who is representing the family, said: “Just-released footage of the militarised police force rushing to kill Andrew Brown. This has become a constant sight across America, the evolution of policing that’s now terrorising communities of colour!”
They pull up to a stop at the outer edge of the video frame, and can be heard yelling, likely at Mr Brown, before the audio cuts out during the moments where he was believed to be shot just offscreen.
“The video leaked earlier today shows what we already suspected: Andrew Brown Jr was brought down by an inflamed modern-day lynch mob,” the Brown family’s attorneys said in a statement.
Despite being played a “snippet,” as they put it, of body camera footage earlier this week, Mr Brown’s family say local officials have slow-walked the release of the the full video account of what happened. The family says there is likely substantial video evidence given the number of officers on the scene.
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.
Pasquotank sheriff Tommy Wooten said he supports releasing the footage and full transparency, but Mr Brown’s family was furious with how the case has been handled so far.
“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,” family attorney Chantel Lassiter said at a press conference after reviewing the footage on Monday. “We will have justice.”
After viewing the video, Mr Brown’s family said they believed at least seven or eight officers were involved, and numerous shots were fired at Mr Brown with pistols and assault rifles as he sat in his car before fleeing for his life.
“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.”
The Independent has reached out to sheriff Wooten and attorney Cox for comment.
Various media organisations have petitioned a local court to release the footage to the public, which could happen as soon as Wednesday.
In the meantime, the Brown family announced on Tuesday a private autopsy showed Mr Brown had been shot in the arm and the back of the head. The same day, the FBI announced it would conduct a civil rights investigation of the shooting, which adds to the investigation of the incident already underway from North Carolina state police.
Protests have continued since Mr Brown’s killing last Wednesday, and city officials have declared a curfew and state of emergency in anticipation of civil unrest.
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