Civil rights attorneys detail $30 million federal lawsuit in Andrew Brown Jr. death

Civil rights attorneys have announced a federal lawsuit seeking over $30 million dollars in damages surrounding the shooting death of Andrew Brown, Jr.
Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 10:06 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2021 at 1:59 PM EDT
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ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WITN) - A federal lawsuit was announced Wednesday surrounding the shooting death of an Elizabeth City man by deputies in April.

Attorneys on behalf of Andrew Brown Jr.’s estate seek $30 million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.

The lawsuit against Pasquotank Co. Sheriff, Dare Co. Sheriff and seven deputies involved in Brown’s shooting death claims it was unlawful to use deadly force on an unarmed man.

Brown was shot and killed by Pasquotank County deputies on April 21st as they were serving search and arrest warrants.

“Intentional wrongful death ... because those officers intended to fire a weapon and do harm to Andrew Brown,” attorney Harry Daniels said. “Negligence… we also brought claims under assault and battery. But one claim we brought under federal law is that the customs and policies enabled these officers to go to Andrew Brown’s house on April 21, 2020 to execute him.”

The shooting was recorded on deputies’ body cameras and show Brown attempting to drive away in his vehicle as he is shot at by several deputies.

Brown’s family saw 20 minutes of redacted footage.

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble reviewed the footage and declined to charge the deputies in the case saying the shooting was justified. Womble said that Brown struck a deputy with his car and nearly ran him over while ignoring commands to show his hands and get out of the vehicle.

Brown family attorney Chantel Lassiter described Brown’s shooting as an execution after viewing body camera footage in April.

The lawsuit would place the matter of Brown’s shooting death in a federal court, separate from North Carolina. Attorneys say they have federal subpoena authority to get all videos, recordings, documents, whatever’s involved in Brown’s shooting death.

“This process now gives us the ability, it takes it out the hands of the state court judge who knows the lawyers for the officers really well, who knows District Attorney Womble,” attorney Bakari Sellers said. “So now we get the process and the power of the courts to subpoena those SBI documents … make those things public.”

Meanwhile, Wednesday marked the 85th day of protesters in Elizabeth City calling for transparency and accountability.

Kirk Rivers said they’ll continue despite roadblocks such as arrests and the defacing of the recent Black Lives Matter mural.

“Until people open up minds and we have more dialogue and we respect one another and way they feel then we will be able to bring back, bring about change. But right now we have to get truth,” Rivers said.

Brown’s death sparked months of protests on the streets of Elizabeth City.

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