Protesters took to the streets of a North Carolina city on Thursday night, demanding for the second night in a row that officers release body camera footage from the fatal shooting of a black man.
Andrew Brown, 42, was shot and killed in his car at around 8:30am on Wednesday in Elizabeth City, 160 miles east of Raleigh.
Police described Brown as someone who was well known to police, and said they were executing search-and-arrest warrants for drug offenses at the time.
His family, however, describe the father-of-ten as a ‘good guy’, despite his ‘flaws’ – and are demanding the body camera footage.
On Thursday night Andrew Womble, the district attorney for the First Prosecutorial District, which encompasses Elizabeth City, said they were prevented by law from releasing the footage.
Andrew Brown, 42, was shot and killed by sheriffs in North Carolina on Wednesday morning
Demonstrators in Elizabeth City were demanding answers on Thursday night
Protesters are calling for the authorities to release body camera footage of the shooting
‘We know people want to see the body camera footage,’ said Womble, in a statement jointly signed with R. Michael Cox, the Pasquotank County Attorney.
‘It is reasonable for people to ask to see it, because such footage can help provide key context about what happens in incidents like this.
‘However, under North Carolina law police worn body camera footage is not a public record and cannot be released to the press or public without a court order.
‘We must follow the law and the law prohibits us from publicly releasing the body worn camera footage.’
Womble and Cox said they were allowed to show the footage privately to the family, however, and were making arrangements to do so.
Brown, a father of ten, was described by his family as a ‘good guy’
A demonstrator holds a sign demanding: ‘Show us the cameras’. Police say they cannot do so
Pastor Javan Leach, of Mt. Lebanon AME Zion Church watches as people gather for a peaceful demonstration
Thursday saw the second night of demonstrations in Elizabeth City against the killing
Protesters continued to demand the footage on Thursday night – the second consecutive night of unrest in Elizabeth City, home to 19,000 people.
Thursday’s protest began a little after 5pm, WNCT9 reported, and moved through the streets.
Several people passionately spoke, asking the community to come together and demand change.
‘We are tired. We are weary. We have been doing this over and over and over,’ said one woman on a loudspeaker.
After leaving the municipal center in Elizabeth City, the group walked to the scene of the shooting on Perry Street.
They then continued to Ehringhaus Street, local news reported, where they remained for much of the night.
On Thursday night Sheriff Tommy S. Wooten and Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg, with the Pasquotank County sheriff’s office, said that the officers involved in Wednesday’s shooting have been placed on leave.
The attorney for the family on Thursday said three deputies were involved.
In a video statement, posted on Facebook, Wooten said Brown’s death was tragic.
‘I will not prejudge anything or draw any conclusions until we have all the facts,’ Wooten said.
Wooten said Wednesday’s encounter with Brown was classified as high-risk because Brown was a convicted felon with a history of resisting arrest.
People demonstrated on Thursday demanding the tapes be released of Brown’s killing
North Carolina law doesn’t provide for the release of the tapes without a court order
They had their local version of a SWAT team and deputies from other agencies assisting.
The sheriff’s office has handed over the shooting investigation to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
‘I will say if the evidence shows that any of my deputies violated the law or policies they will be held accountable because that is what the citizens expect me to do and it’s the right thing to do,’ Wooten said.
Brown’s family denied that he was a dangerous man.
His brother, Antron Brown, said he had been the victim to two previous shootings, but was not a bad man.
‘He was a good guy,’ he told 10 On Your Side.
‘Everybody has their flaws. He was trying to get his kids back.
‘He don’t do nothing that harms nobody. He don’t go out and pick fights or do anything were somebody is going to harm them.’
Brown had two pending drug cases, the local channel reported.
‘The fact that an officer shot him – for what?’ his brother asked.
‘Shoot the tires.
‘Apparently people said they were shooting from the front and shooting from the back. you could have hit the other officer like that.
‘I love my brother. I’m going to miss him dearly.’