ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (NewsNation Now) — Newly released footage shows the moments before and after law enforcement surrounded Andrew Brown Jr.’s car and fatally shot him.
Brown, a 42-year-old Black man from Elizabeth City, was shot to death by one or more deputy sheriffs trying to serve drug-related search and arrest warrants. An eyewitness said Brown tried to drive away but was shot dead in his car.
NewsNation affiliate WAVY obtained the footage from a Freedom of Information request with the City of Elizabeth City. The video was taken from a city-owned street camera mounted to a utility pole on Brown’s street.
The video shows a group of armed officers driving in a pick-up truck while yelling. The audio briefly cuts out before resuming after the shots were fired. The street camera then shows the emergency response.
Elizabeth City officials said there was no tampering with the footage to cause the audio loss and that loud noises can overwhelm the camera.
The agency which served the warrant to Brown was Pasquotank County, not Elizabeth City.
The FBI announced Tuesday that’s launching a federal civil rights investigation into the case.
“Agents will work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice to determine whether federal laws were violated,” said FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch. “As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further.”
Local clergy members who called a news conference outside of an Elizabeth City church welcomed the FBI’s announcement.
“Amen. Because the people here are inept, incapable and incompetent,” said the Rev. William Barber II, who leads the Poor People’s Campaign, referring to local authorities.
Brown’s lawyers also welcomed the federal agency’s involvement: “We have great faith that this caliber of an investigation will prevent any obscuring of the facts released to the Brown family and public and will overcome any local bias that may prevent justice from being served.”
Attorney Wayne Kendall said Tuesday that an independent pathologist hired by Brown’s family examined his body. Two shots to Brown’s right arm penetrated the skin and two other shots to the arm grazed him, Kendall said. The pathologist could not determine the distance from which they were fired.
Brown was shot in the back of the head in what lawyers called a “kill shot.” The pathologist who performed the autopsy did not speak at the news conference and did not appear to be there.
The state’s autopsy has not been released yet. The Brown family’s lawyers also released a copy of the death certificate, which lists the cause of death as a “penetrating gunshot wound of the head.” It describes the death as a homicide.
The family is making funeral arrangements. The Associated Press reports the service will be at noon on Monday in Elizabeth City, but other details are still being worked out.
The shooting has prompted protests and demands for accountability in the eastern North Carolina city of about 18,000. Elizabeth City set a curfew starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Multiple demonstrators violated the curfew and were arrested Tuesday night according to WAVY.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has called for a special prosecutor in the case. He said in part that it would assure the community there would be no bias in a criminal investigation into Brown’s death.
In the interest of justice and confidence in the judicial system, I believe a special prosecutor should handle all matters regarding the shooting in Pasquotank County. This would help assure the community and Mr. Brown’s family that a decision on pursuing criminal charges is conducted without bias. This position is consistent with the change in the law recommended by our Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice which calls for a special prosecutor in police shootings, and I believe the law should be changed to help ensure it. Read the full report of the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice here.North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper
At least seven deputies have been placed on leave following the shooting. Another three deputies resigned who were not directly involved in the shooting, Wooten said. One was nearing retirement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.