Police Brutality

Deputies Kill Black Man in a Confrontation

On April 21, 2021, Andrew Brown, Jr was fatally shot by Pasquotank County deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Officers were serving a search warrant to Brown when they fired 13 times as Brown attempted to drive off.

Autopsy results confirm that Brown was shot in the back of his head. Sheriff’s deputies opened fire and shot him four times in the right arm and once in the head, according to the family’s independent autopsy.  

Bodycam footage shows the seven deputies arriving at Brown’s house to execute a drug warrant, ordering him to stop the car when Brown arrives in his vehicle. Authorities maintain that Brown was a known drug dealer. One deputy is seen being hit by Brown’s car before leaping out of the way. Two of the deputies open fire, resulting in Brown crashing his car into a nearby tree. Deputies attempted to resuscitate Brown after the shooting.

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble said that the deputies were within their rights to use deadly force, adding that none of the deputies who witnessed the incident would be charged. “I find the facts of this case clearly illustrate the officers who used deadly force on Andrew Brown, Jr. did so reasonably and only when a violent felon used a deadly weapon to place their lives in danger.”

The deputies involved in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting. Their names have yet to be released to the public. Lawyers representing the deputies continue to maintain that the killing was justified.

Immediately after the fatal shooting of Brown, protestors marched the streets of Elizabeth City, demanding justice. Authorities have established an 8 p.m. curfew in Pasquotank County. 

Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office refused to release body camera footage of the incident to the public, citing legal reasons. The Brown family was shown a 20-second snippet of the shooting, with Brown’s family and lawyer calling it an “execution.” With at least 6 bodycam videos available, the sheriff’s office and presiding judge continue to maintain that bodycam footage cannot be publicly released. Brown’s family legal team has said that no drugs or weapons were found in the property or the car. Additionally, the legal team has yet to see the search warrant that authorities say was being served at the time of the shooting. 

With few details having been released, community members are questioning the accountability that the sheriff’s office is taking. The Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office has done little to engage with Black residents and continues to exclude Black activists and community members from major policy decisions and discussions, such as the use of body cameras. The lack of cooperation and transparency surrounding Brown’s death from the sheriff’s office has brought to light the racial divide in the city and county. The FBI has launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting.

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