Attorneys representing the family of Andrew Brown Jr. said Monday that North Carolina sheriff’s deputies shot the 42-year-old Black man in the back of the head as they were serving a warrant last week. Brown’s son, who was allowed to view what the family’s attorneys said was 20 seconds of police body camera video, called the shooting in Elizabeth City an execution.
“My dad got executed just by trying to save his own life,” Khalil Ferebee told reporters during an afternoon press conference.
Family attorney Harry Daniels said Brown was shot in the back of the head, and he called for the officers involved in the shooting to be arrested “right now.”
Another family attorney, Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, said the bodycam video showed Brown posed no threat to police during Wednesday’s incident. She said the video showed Brown in his car in his driveway with his hands on the steering wheel.
The video started with officers firing at Brown, Cherry-Lassiter said. At least five officers were facing the driver’s side of the vehicle pointing their weapons at Brown, she said. Some were calling for Brown to show them his hands.
“They’re shooting and saying, ‘Let me see your hands,’ at the same time,” Cherry-Lassiter said.
Brown tried to drive away from the officers, who continued to fire, she said. The vehicle eventually crashed into a tree.
“We in Black America don’t understand why when a Black person is going away from you you think it’s allowable to shoot them in the back and kill them,” said attorney Ben Crump, who is also representing the Brown family.
Cherry-Lassiter said at least seven officers total were at the scene of the shooting. Attorneys called for the release of footage from other body cameras and from any police dashboard cameras. Authorities have not publicly released any video from the incident, despite calls to do so from the community and local officials.
In a video statement posted to Facebook on Monday, Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg said the office would comply if the court ordered a release of the body camera footage, but said “those people who claim that the sheriff’s office has the ability to release [the footage] either don’t know North Carolina law, or they are trying to purposefully inflame a tragic situation.”
In the same statement, Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said the incident “was quick and over in less than 30 seconds,” adding that “body cameras are shaky and sometimes hard to decipher.”
“They only tell part of the story,” Wooten added.
Seven Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies have been placed on paid administrative leave. Ahead of the family viewing the video, Elizabeth City Mayor Bettie Parker declared a state of emergency in the wake of protests following the shooting.
Wooten has said deputies from his department were attempting to serve drug-related search and arrest warrants when Brown was shot. The warrants included two arrest warrants on drug-related charges, including possession with intent to sell cocaine for Brown, who had past drug convictions.