Brown family wants U.S. Justice Department to intervene after D.A. calls shooting justified

Published: May. 18, 2021 at 10:10 AM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 3:47 PM EDT
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ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WITN) - The family of Andrew Brown, Jr. wants the U.S. Justice Department to immediately intervene after the local district attorney said his shooting was justified.

Brown was shot and killed on April 21st by deputy sheriffs as they were serving a search warrant on his Perry Street home in Elizabeth City.

District Attorney Andrew Womble said the three deputies will not be charged in the shooting. It comes after the SBI turned over to him the results of their investigation into the deadly shooting.

In a statement hours after the decision, attorneys for the family said Womble was trying to whitewash an unjustified killing.

This video was played during Tuesday morning's news conference.
This video was played during Tuesday morning's news conference.(Pasquotank County District Attorney's Office)

Womble played the video from multiple police body cameras during the news conference.

The district attorney said deputies clearly identified themselves to Brown, who refused orders to stop and drove his car directly at one of the officers.

Womble said Brown’s actions caused deputies to believe it was necessary to use deadly force.

The district attorney said Brown used his vehicle as a deadly weapon and that deputies were directly in the path of Brown’s vehicle.

He said the first shot fired at Brown’s car went through the front windshield, not the back as was previously reported.

Womble also said he won’t release bodycam video of the confrontation between Brown and the law enforcement officers. However, portions of the video he showed during the news conference were broadcast by WITN and other news outlets.

Womble said the deputies involved had no prior excessive force complaints against them.

The decision comes a week after the Brown family and their attorney watched police video of the deadly shooting.

Attorney Chance Lynch said Brown was “ambushed”, and at no point did they see him pose a threat to any law enforcement officer.

A judge ruled three weeks ago that the family and one attorney could view the video, and said he would later rule about whether it would be released.

Tuesday afternoon, Attorney General Josh Stein called for the full video to be made public, saying what he called a broken criminal justice system will only be more difficult to repair without complete transparency.

The Brown shooting has led to weeks of peaceful protests in Elizabeth City that prompted a curfew which has since been lifted.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the Brown shooting “another police murder of a Black person.”

The FBI is also investigating the Brown shooting and whether his civil rights were violated at the time.

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