Reuters – Mourners gathered on Monday to remember Andrew Brown, a Black man whose shooting death by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies trying to arrest him is under investigation, at a service joined by civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton.
The killing of Brown, 42, under unclear circumstances has captured the national spotlight. It occurred on April 21, a day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd in a highly publicized trial.
A casket bearing Brown’s body was due to make its way to the Fountain of Life Church with his son, Khalil Ferebee, acting as a pallbearer. Several people gathered nearby, some wearing T-shirts that said, “I am Andrew Brown” and “Say his name.”
The shooting, and a decision by authorities not to make public a video of the incident, triggered several boisterous but peaceful demonstrations in Elizabeth City, a riverfront community whose population of roughly 18,000 is half African-American.
A North Carolina judge last Wednesday rejected requests to release four videos from body-worn police cameras of the shooting, siding with arguments their immediate disclosure could jeopardize active investigations.
Accounts of the incident by people who have seen some of the videos have varied widely.
Lawyers for Brown’s family said a 20-second portion of the video they were allowed to see showed that he was “executed” by the deputies. The family said the deputies continued shooting at him in his driveway after he drove away from them.
But Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble said officers fired only after Brown’s car lurched toward them and made contact with them.
A private autopsy conducted by Brown’s family found that he was struck by five bullets, including a fatal one to the rear of his skull.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten and Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg have said the shooting occurred as deputies were trying to serve arrest and search warrants on Brown stemming from a felony drug charge, adding that Brown had a history of resisting arrest.
(Writing by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Howard Goller)