Outrage is growing over the April 21 police shooting death of 42-year-old Andrew Brown Jr. in North Carolina, along with calls by his family and various media outlets demanding the full release of the police bodycam video. Now amid protests and calls for transparency, the FBI has announced it will investigate.
Brown, an unarmed Black man, died after police shot him during an arrest in Elizabeth City, NC. He was shot five times, including four times in his right arm and once in the back of the head, according to an autopsy done at the request of his family.
The FBI got involved a day after attorneys for Brown’s family saw a 20-second video of his arrest. Brown was shot in the back of the head while he had his hands on his steering wheel, CNBC reported. A North Carolina judge has declined to release the body camera footage of the shooting and killing to the public.
“There was no time in the 20 seconds that we saw where he was threatening the officers in any kind of way,” Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, an attorney, said at a press conference after viewing the video, the Associated Press reported.
Brown was killed by Pasquotank County deputies who were attempting to serve drug-related search and arrest warrants. He was killed less than a day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd.
“The FBI Charlotte Field Office has opened a federal civil rights investigation into the police-involved shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr.,” an FBI spokesman said. The agency confirmed its investigation on April 27. “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.”
In addition to the FBI investigation, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s office released a statement calling for a special prosecutor to handle all matters related to the shooting that killed Brown.
“This would help assure the community and Mr. Brown’s family that a decision on pursuing criminal charges is conducted without bias,” Cooper said in the statement.
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Protests have broken out in Elizabeth City and several people were arrested, WAVY reported. Protesters and Brown’s family continue to call for transparency.
“You don’t have to be a Democrat or Republican to feel like injustice was done … you just have to have a beating heart, a moral conscience,” said attorney Bakari Sellers, Sellers, who is representing Brown’s family along with civil rights attorney Ben Crump and Harry Daniels.
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