Seven officers are on administrative leave while authorities investigate the shooting

By Steve Helling
April 28, 2021 01:36 PM
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Andrew Brown Jr.

The FBI is launching a civil rights probe into the death of Andrew Brown, a 42-year-old Black man in North Carolina who was fatally shot by police when he was in his car outside his home last week.

The FBI's Charlotte field office told WLKY-TV in a statement that its agents planned to work closely with the Department of Justice "to determine whether federal laws were violated."

Brown was shot and killed last week 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 as he was trying to drive away from officers. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Brown's family ordered an independent autopsy, which noted four gunshot wounds to the right arm and one fatal wound to the head. The state's autopsy has not yet been released.

In court on Wednesday, Pasquotank District Attorney Andrew Womble alleged that bodycam video shows Brown hitting officers with his car, backing up and then going forward.

Womble argued that releasing the footage would jeopardize a fair trial. On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster declined to release the footage to the public for at least 30 days.

Some of Brown's family will be allowed to view the videos — but not receive copies of the footage. Judge Foster ruled the videos will be disclosed to Brown's son, some immediate family members and an attorney. Before they view the video, authorities will blur the faces of the officers involved in the shooting.

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Seven deputies are on administrative leave while authorities investigate the shooting.

Brown's family members and their attorneys held a news conference outside the sheriff's department in Elizabeth City on Monday, saying that they were expecting to see the video before it was released.

But the family ended up being disappointed. According to a tweet from CBS News reporter Manuel Bojorquez, the family said they were only shown a "snippet" of body cam video that lasted approximately 20 seconds.

"I was told by the district attorney that the family will get to see the raw footage, not the redacted version," Harry Daniels, an attorney for the family, told reporters. "These county administrators are walking back the promises they have made. Show the tape. If you ain't got nothing to hide, show the tape."