By D’Nasia Marshburn, Staff Writer
At a press conference held in Elizabeth City, on the 200 block of Colonial Avenue, many citizens awaited the reveal of full body camera footage of the last moments of Andrew Brown Jr’s life.
The City was called out to release the full footage after only showing Brown’s family 20 seconds worth of footage, which led many to believe that the Pasquotank Police Department had something to hide.
Brown’s family had an independent autopsy completed on his body which showed that he was shot four times in the arm, and one time in the back of the head, “execution style” as the family stated..
Officers approached his home to serve a warrant to search for illegal substances, and as Brown feared for his life, he attempted to drive away from police. As he drove away, he was shot and killed.
There were a total of seven officers placed on administrative leave, one of whom retired shortly after the incident, and two who have resigned. This raised questions in the eye of the public, and on April 27th protesters, residents, and many others gathered to find answers.
The initial 20-second footage released showed that Brown was of no imminent threat to officers. In a press conference Brown’s son Khalil Ferebee stated, “It’s obvious he was trying to get away. It’s obvious. And they’re going to shoot him in the back of the head?”
In the state of North Carolina, in order for body camera footage to be released to the public it must be under a judges ruling. No one knows how long the ruling may take.
Protests in Elizabeth City following Brown’s death have been peaceful thus far. Though, on April 27 at approximately 2 p.m. a driver of a white truck attempted to drive through the protesters while officers had each corner blocked off. As the protesters asked the man to go around, he attempted to run over 2 females and then proceeded to pull out his gun from the dashboard. Officers and protesters stood by as this occurred. Fortunately no one was injured in the incident.
The FBI has now opened Andrew Brown’s case as a civil rights investigation which will allow them to take a deeper look into whether or not Brown’s rights were violated.
As the Brown family searches for answers and accountability, Mayor Bettie J. Parker has declared a state of emergency and is enforcing an 8 p.m .curfew as of Tuesday, April 27 in order to take caution of the possible tension or frustration.
Montre Freeman, Elizabeth City’s Manager, shared his thoughts on Andrew Brown’s death.
“As a Black man and a father, it felt like yet another one,” he said. As Andrew Brown’s death by police hit home for the people of Elizabeth City, many others have occurred nationwide and “It starts with transparency and accountability, right now America as an entirety… have shown hardly any,” says Tasha Wright, a lifelong resident of Elizabeth City.
A court hearing is set for the ruling of a judge to decide whether or not to release the full body camera footage to the public on April 28th. Many are waiting anxiously for the truth of the matter to be revealed.
On Friday, Governor Roy Cooper made a statement that he believes that the law should be changed. The law that body camera footage has to be released to the public only if ruled by a judge. At this time, besides the independent autopsy, and 20 seconds of police footage, there are no further details of Brown’s case.