Andrew Brown Jr.’s family will be shown just 20 minutes from around two hours of bodycam footage of his fatal shooting by North Carolina, a judge has ruled.
Judge Jeffery Foster issued a written order Thursday allowing Brown’s immediate family and attorney to view limited footage from each of the five videos taken from the body cameras and dash camera of the cops involved.
They also face another lengthy wait to see the truncated footage – which may finally be shared almost a month after Brown was killed in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on April 21.
Foster ruled last Tuesday that parts of the footage would be disclosed to the family within 10 days.
But the judge then took nine days to issue the written ruling, which was finally handed down on May 6, meaning the 10-day time limit starts from then.
This means Brown’s family could now be waiting until May 16 to see it – almost one whole month on from his shooting.
Brown, a 42-year-old black man, was shot multiple times and killed on the morning of April 21 by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies.
The father-of-10 was inside his car outside his house in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, when the officers were serving him drug-related search and arrest warrants.
Brown’s family have described his death as an ‘execution’, saying he had his hands on the steering wheel of the car and was shot in the back of the head.
His death came just one day after white cop Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of black man George Floyd.
Andrew Brown Jr.’s (center) family will be shown just 20 minutes from around two hours of bodycam footage of his fatal shooting by North Carolina cops and could be forced to wait another nine days to see it, according to a judge’s ruling
Judge Jeffery Foster issued a written order Thursday allowing Brown’s immediate family and attorney to view limited footage from five videos. Pictured Reverend Al Sharpton leads a prayer with Andrew Brown Jr.’s sons Khalil Ferebee and Jha’rod Ferebee at Brown’s funeral
Calls have been mounting for authorities to release all the bodycam footage of the incident.
To date, no footage has been publicly released and Brown’s family and attorney were shown only a 20-second clip from one deputy’s body camera last week.
Under North Carolina law, bodycam footage is not a public record and cannot be released without a court order.
At the court hearing on April 27, Foster denied a media petition to release the footage publicly for at least 30 days, saying it might impede the ongoing investigation.
He said he would consider releasing it after this date if the investigation has been completed.
He ruled that Brown’s family would be allowed to watch redacted footage within 10 days but cannot make copies or recordings of it.
He said he would specify in a written order which parts of the footage they could view.
Thursday’s ruling shows Foster has approved the disclosure of video one in its entirety (3 minutes and 1 second).
He has also approved 1 minute 40 seconds from the almost 35 minute video two, 4 minutes 50 from the 32 minute long video three, 4 minutes 30 seconds of the 17 minute long video four and 4 minutes 40 of the 30 minute long video five.
All footage allowed to be viewed is from the start of each video.
Foster ruled last Tuesday (above) that parts of the footage would be disclosed to the family within 10 days. But the judge then took nine days to issue the written ruling on April 6, meaning the 10-day time limit starts from then
The results of an independent autopsy released by attorneys for Brown’s family shows he was shot five times; four times in his right arm and once in the head
‘The portions of the videos withheld are found to not contain images of the deceased, and thus are not appropriate for disclosure at this time,’ Foster wrote in Thursday’s ruling.
Before the family views the footage, the judge ordered the sheriff’s office to blur the deputies’ faces ‘to prevent identification pending the completion of any internal or criminal investigation into the actions of the deputies.’
Brown, pictured, a father of 10, was shot in his car on April 21 by sheriffs
It will then be disclosed to Brown’s adult son Khalil Ferebree, his immediate family members and one attorney.
The ruling also says between one and three officers opened fire on Brown’s car and that Brown ‘attempted to flee the scene and escape apprehension’ during the fatal encounter last month.
After viewing the 20-second clip from one deputy’s body camera last week, an attorney for Brown’s family said it showed an ‘execution’.
Attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter said it shows deputies shot Brown as he sat with his hands on the steering wheel of his BMW.
A state prosecutor described a different scenario after watching the footage, saying Brown’s car ran into the deputies before they opened fire.
An independent autopsy commissioned by his family said Brown was shot five times, including once in the back of the head. The state autopsy is yet to be released.
No members of law enforcement were injured in the incident.
The delay in releasing the footage has sparked outrage across North Carolina, with protesters taking to the streets demanding transparency over the black man’s death.
Law enforcement have released few details about Brown’s death.
Brown’s car is seen after his fatal shooting in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on April 21
The moment a ‘militarized’ sheriff’s vehicle carrying armed deputies rushed to Brown’s home
Meanwhile, police instead released court documents about the search warrant that brought them to Brown that day describing him as a drug dealer.
It’s a move that sparked more outrage with the family’s attorney Ben Crump accusing authorities of protecting the officers while they ‘assassinate the character’ of Brown.
North Carolina’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, has called for the swift release of the bodycam footage.
And at Brown’s funeral in North Carolina Monday, Rev. Al Sharpton hit out at the delay questioning what authorities are ‘hiding’.
‘I know a con game when I see it. Release the whole tape and let the folks see what happened to Andrew Brown,’ he said in a eulogy at the invitation-only church service.
‘You don’t need time to get a tape out. Put it out. Let the world see what there is to see. If you’ve got nothing to hide, then what are you hiding?’
Brown’s funeral was attended by the families of other black men killed by police in America including George Floyd, Eric Garner and Daunte Wright.
The footage will be disclosed to Brown’s adult son Khalil Ferebree (right with his baby son at his father’s funeral), his immediate family members and one attorney
Jha’rod Ferebee (left) and Khalil Ferebee (right) speak during the funeral for their father Andrew Brown Jr. at the Fountain of Life church Monday
The identities of the officers involved in the shooting were finally released last week as the three officers who Wooten said did shoot at Brown – investigator Daniel Meads; deputy Robert Morgan and Cpl Arron Lewellyn – remain on administrative leave.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten announced four other deputies – Lt Steven Judd; Sgts Michael Swindell; Kenneth Bishop and Joel Lunsford – were cleared to return to active duty after the investigation revealed they did not fire their guns.
All seven had initially been placed on administrative leave after Brown’s death.
Meanwhile two others – Deputy Sheriff William Harris and Lt. Christopher Terry – resigned in the aftermath and Deputy James Flowers retired.
The FBI has launched a civil rights probe into the shooting, while state agents are conducting a separate investigation.
Protesters march through Elizabeth City last week over Brown’s death and the decision not to release the bodycam