A North Carolina deputy shot and killed a Black man while serving a search warrant Wednesday, authorities said, spurring an outcry from community members who demanded law enforcement accountability and the immediate release of body camera video (April 22)
More than 24 hours after a Black man was fatally shot by a North Carolina deputy, grieving loved ones and frustrated protesters awaited details to piece together what happened.
Andrew Brown Jr. was killed early Wednesday morning in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, said Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten. The deputy was executing a search warrant, and he has since been placed on leave pending investigation, he said.
For many, the sense of relief brought by the guilty verdict for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Tuesday in the murder of George Floyd was short-lived. Reports of more police killings emerged just hours later, including that of Brown and 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant who was fatally shot Tuesday night by police officers in Columbus, Ohio.
Crowds of people — dozens at the scene of the shooting and later hundreds protesting in the streets of Elizabeth City — called for police to release more details immediately, including body camera footage. Elizabeth City is about 170 miles northeast of Raleigh.
“The people of Elizabeth City … they desire a right to know what took place this morning,” City Councilman Darius J. Horton said Wednesday. “There is a moment of hurt in Elizabeth City.”
The deputy, who has not been identified, was serving a search warrant at Brown’s rental home Wednesday morning when Brown was fatally shot around 8:30 a.m. According to a witness, Brown was trying to drive away.
Demetria Williams, Brown’s neighbor, told the Associated Press she ran outside after hearing a gunshot and then saw the deputy firing multiple times at Brown. She also said the car skidded from Brown’s yard and hit a tree.
“When they opened the door he was already dead,” Williams said. “He was slumped over.” She said officers attempted chest compressions on Brown.
Authorities removed a car from the scene that appeared to have multiple bullet holes and a broken rear windshield, the Associated Press reported.
A North Carolina deputy shot and killed a man while executing a search warrant Wednesday. (April 21)
What are protesters asking for?
As an emergency city council meeting was underway Wednesday, protesters began to gather outside, watching the livestream of the meeting on their phones, according to WAVY-TV.
The protests continued into the night, with about 200 people marching downtown asking for police to release body camera footage, the TV station reported.
“If the body cameras were on, that information needs to be disseminated as quickly as possible in order to make sure justice is served,” Keith Rivers, president of the Pasquotank NAACP, told WSAV-TV.
Councilman Quentin Jackson, who told WRAL he knew Brown, called for the sheriff to “give the people answers.”
“None other leaders have been out here from the county to stand out here with the people,” Jackson said. “And the sheriff should come out here.”
Protests wrapped up before 10 p.m., but vowed to be back at the sheriff’s office Thursday at 5 p.m. if body camera footage isn’t released.
The city’s public schools said it was implementing remote learning Thursday “due to community concern and out of an abundance of caution,” though it did not explicitly cite protests,
What do we know about the deputy?
Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said at a news conference Wednesday the deputy was wearing a body camera and has been placed on leave.
Wooten did not identify the deputy. He also did not say how many shots were fired or what the warrant against Brown was for.
“What we are looking for at this time will be accurate answers and not fast answers,” District Attorney Andrew Womble Womble told a news conference. “We’re going to wait for the full and complete investigation … and we’ll review that and make any determinations that we deem appropriate at that time. This will not be a rush to judgment.”
Who was Andrew Brown Jr.?
Williams said neighbors knew Brown, 42, as Drew and that he wasn’t a violent person.
“He wasn’t a threat to (officers). He was driving off even though he was trying to get away,” Williams said.
Brown’s aunt, Martha McCullen, who said she raised him after his parents died, described him as a good person and father.
“The police didn’t have to shoot my baby,” she told the Associated Press. “He was about to get his kids back…Now his kids won’t never see him again.”
He had 10 children, WAVY-TV reported.
Court records show Brown had a history of drug charges and a misdemeanor drug possession conviction.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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