Almost three months after the police killed Andrew Brown Jr. from a gunshot wound to the head, his family has filed a $30 million civil rights lawsuit.
On Wednesday, civil rights attorneys’ representing Brown’s family announced they filed a federal lawsuit against the North Carolina sheriff’s department and deputies who shot Brown in the back of his head as he drove away from them, USA Today reports.
Brown’s family says he died because of the officers’ “intentional and reckless disregard of his life,” as noted by ABC News. Brown was killed on April 21 while Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputies were serving a drug-related warrant at his Elizabeth City home.
The family’s lawsuit is seeking $30 million in damages and the release of body camera footage and audio files of the fatal shooting. The deputies who were involved were named in the lawsuit, and Sheriffs Tommy Wooten and Doug Doughtie were listed as defendants.
WATCH: Press Conference | Federal Lawsuit to be Filed in Case of Police Killing of Andrew Brown, Jr. https://t.co/0n7dLHrZVT
— Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (@RevDrBarber) July 14, 2021
“For Black folk in this country, justice is a verb,” family attorney Bakari Sellers said at a Wednesday news conference. “And this is that first step in action.”
Back in May, during community unrest over the shooting, Andrew Womble, the elected district attorney for North Carolina’s Judicial District 1, cleared the deputies of any wrongdoing, saying that the shooting “while tragic, was justified” because Brown allegedly used his vehicle as a deadly weapon, Fox News reports.
“We had to come where we believe Lady Justice is blind and will have all things be equal,” Sellers said. “We stand in front of this federal courthouse because we believe this is where Andrew Brown will finally get justice because he did not get justice in life and so far hasn’t even gotten justice in death.”
The family’s filing is the latest within a string of federal civil rights lawsuits due to police shootings of unarmed Black people. George Floyd’s family agreed to a $27 million settlement in March following his murder by former police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020. In September 2020, Louisville, Kentucky, agreed to pay Breonna Taylor’s family $12 million and reform police practices after the 26-year-old EMT worker was killed inside her home by officers serving a no-knock warrant.