Greater than three days after Andrew Brown, Jr. was fatally shot by Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina, his household says they know little about why police killed him.
In dueling statements Saturday, the Sheriff’s division and legal professionals for Brown’s household painted conflicting footage of the state of the investigation.
Brown, a 42-year-old Black man and father of seven, was shot and killed on Wednesday whereas deputies had been making an attempt to arrest him.
The household’s legal professionals in interviews with USA TODAY emphasised the household had not but seen physique digital camera footage of the deadly encounter, regardless that they had been entitled to below North Carolina legislation. The household can also be looking for the general public launch of the footage, though such a course of is extra difficult below state legislation.
“The household has requested the footage and has not been capable of acquire it,” stated Harry Daniels, an Atlanta legal professional who’s representing the Brown household. “The sheriff is blaming the D.A. and the D.A. is blaming the sheriff.”
“Actually, this was misconduct, and folks will know that when the video has been launched,” he stated. “We even suppose there might have been prison conduct.”
Daniels stated Brown was shot within the again by the deputies as he was making an attempt to run away.
In the meantime, Sheriff Tommy Wooten stated the division hopes to ask a decide to make the footage public on Monday, with the sign-off of a state company investigating the incident.
The Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Division has repeatedly promised transparency in public statements in latest days.
“We would like the physique digital camera footage made public,” Wooten stated. “Some individuals have falsely claimed that my workplace has the ability to take action. That isn’t true. Solely a decide can launch the video.”
North Carolina’s statute governing the discharge of physique digital camera footage isoverly difficult, burdensome and expensive to victims and their households, stated C. Amanda Martin, a Raleigh, NC legal professional who focuses on communications.
The statute is sort of clear that relations and attorneys of individuals proven within the video ought to be allowed to at the very least view the footage, Martin stated. Whereas there are some caveats, it is extremely uncommon for a police division to disclaim entry to viewing physique digital camera footage, she stated.
However on the subject of releasing that footage, the legislation is extra difficult.
Requests for copies of physique digital camera video, even from a sufferer’s relations or their legal professional, have to be made in writing and have to be made to a Superior Courtroom decide.
A coalition of stories retailers together with Gannett, the guardian firm of USA TODAY, is drafting a petition to ask an area decide to launch the footage.
“It might really be unlawful for a legislation enforcement company to launch it with out a decide’s order,” Martin stated. “The most important criticism about this legislation is that it’s time consuming and costly.”
There are a patchwork of native legal guidelines throughout the nation governing how police physique digital camera footage will be made public, and it’s not uncommon for there to be a delay between the date of the capturing and the discharge of the footage.
In a latest high-profile case in Chicago, authorities made footage of the March 29 fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo public on April 15.
Civil rights legal professional Ben Crump, who represented the household of George Floyd, who was murdered by Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin final yr, introduced he was becoming a member of the authorized staff for Brown’s household in a press launch Saturday.
“This household and the Elizabeth Metropolis neighborhood deserve solutions now,” the press launch quotes Crump as saying. “Whereas there could also be a lightweight on the finish of the tunnel with one pandemic, one other one continues to rage throughout the borders of our nation — police extreme pressure in opposition to marginalized minorities.
In an interview with USA TODAY, Crump stated he’s touring to North Carolina on Sunday to try to get the footage launched as quickly as doable.
“We’re going to get this video launched,” Crump stated. “We’re going to demand it not solely within the courtroom of legislation but additionally within the courtroom of public opinion. The general public pays all this cash for physique digital camera video for the only function of transparency.”
The Related Press reported that seven deputies on the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Division have been placed on paid administrative go away for the reason that capturing.
“We all know individuals need solutions, we all know you are offended,” Wooten stated in a Saturday Fb video. “We ask to your persistence and assist as we work to do the fitting factor.”
Protests in Elizabeth Metropolis have largely been calm to date and at a press convention Saturday morning, officers from the small coastal city thanked protesters for remaining peaceable and lamented the delay in releasing the physique digital camera footage.
“We most likely know even much less that you already know,” Elizabeth Metropolis Supervisor Montre’ Freeman instructed reporters on the press convention.