Family of Andrew Brown Jr. Files Federal Lawsuit Months After N.C. Black Man Was Killed by Police

Brown's family says he was fleeing police when he was shot to death and was therefore not a threat to officers

Andrew Brown Jr.
Andrew Brown, Jr.

The family of Andrew Brown Jr. has filed a $30 million federal lawsuit against law enforcement over the unarmed Black man's death at the hands of police, alleging that Brown was deprived of his rights under state law.

PEOPLE confirms that the lawsuit was filed by Brown's aunt, who is acting as the administrator of his estate. The suit, which was filed on Tuesday, names the Pasquotank County and Dare County sheriffs and seven deputies who were at the scene when Brown was killed.

Brown was shot and killed in April while the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office was serving drug-related search and arrest warrants. According to police, Brown suffered a fatal gunshot wound in the back of the head in his vehicle.

Pasquotank District Attorney Andrew Womble alleged that bodycam video shows Brown hitting officers with his car and driving toward police. But Brown's family contends he was trying to elude police and did not pose a threat to them.

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Partial video of the shooting has been shown publicly. The video footage, viewed by PEOPLE, appears to show the car backing up as officers attempt to surround it. Brown then drives forward in an apparent attempt to elude police as an officer is seen moving out of the way.

Last month, Womble said that the deputies were justified in the shooting, and that none of the officers would be charged in connection with Brown's death.

"Mr. Brown's death, while tragic, was justified because Mr. Brown's actions caused three deputies to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others," Womble said.

Womble said Brown was surrounded on all sides by police, saying, "You are not allowed to run over police officers." Additionally, Womble alleged that Brown's vehicle made contact with police twice before they fired their weapons.

Attorneys for Brown's family are still demanding that all of the body-worn and dashboard camera footage of the shooting to be released. According to CNN, Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten has also petitioned for the court to allow a public release of the footage without redaction.

Brown's family has disputed the characterization that he was a threat to police.

"It was absolutely, unequivocally unjustified," family attorney Chance Lynch said last month, reports CNN. "Our legal team is more committed now to pursue justice ... because what we saw was unconstitutional and it was unjustifiable."

Lynch said Brown was in his vehicle when police yelled different things at him.

"At all times his hands were visible, you could see he was not a threat," said Lynch. "It was so much yelling, we could barely understand what was happening."

The lawsuit is seeking more than $30 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Calls to the Brown family attorney and the Pasquotank County and Dare County sheriffs were not immediately returned.

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