A new video shows that no more than four seconds passed between when Pasquotank Sheriff’s deputies arrived at Andrew Brown Jr.’s home and when shots began to ring out, a family attorney said Tuesday.
“This was, in fact, an extrajudicial killing, an execution if you will,” Brown family attorney Wayne Kendall told CNN’s John Berman. “Mr. Brown’s car never moved toward those deputies.”
CNN obtained the video, which shows the deputies arriving on scene. It is, however, not clear what is being said in the video or when the shooting started.
The new video came as protesters gathered in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, for a seventh day to call for answers in the fatal shooting of 42-year-old Brown during the execution of a warrant.
Authorities have not said what led the officers to fire nor have they publicly released body camera footage of the incident, and the family was initially only shown a 20-second snippet this week.
Sheriff says he wants body cam footage released
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said Wednesday he wants the body cam video released.
“I in fact requested that the petition be filed to have this video be released to the public,” Wooten told “Fox & Friends” Wednesday. “You know, transparency is paramount, not only for an agency but for the community as well because it helps us keep that trust.”
CNN has joined a media coalition in filing a petition for the footage to be publicly released. A hearing on the matter was set for Wednesday morning.
“At this sheriff’s office we have a high standard, a high standard of accountability,” Wooten said. “And they know that. And they know what ever situation arises and how they take action in the moment, that they will be held accountable.”
Wooten said characterizing Brown’s death as “an execution” was “inflammatory to the community.”
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation said in a statement Wednesday that it is conducting “a comprehensive, objective, and thorough investigation” of the shooting. The bureau deferred to local authorities and the courts to determine whether body cam footage should be released.
The family’s attorneys provided more information Tuesday with the release of an independent autopsy.
Brown had been shot four times in the right arm and was trying to drive away from Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies when he was hit in the head, Kendall said, citing an autopsy performed by Dr. Brent Hall.
“He was trying to run because he was scared for his life,” Kendall said.
Brown’s family and the community want the release of the full video, which authorities can’t release without a court order. Kendall said he is hopeful a judge will allow its release at a hearing Wednesday.
City declares state of emergency over protests
Protests have remained peaceful since the death of Brown last week.
Concerned about potential unrest, Elizabeth City declared a state of emergency Monday and instituted a curfew that started at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
“We’re usually a kind of quiet town, and we’re just sometimes playing stuff by ear because we’ve just never had something like this before,” Mayor Bettie Parker said of the curfew. “We’ve got to do some healing here because people are hurt.”
As police told the crowd to disperse Tuesday, protesters responded to the PA announcement by shouting, “No justice, no peace!”
Despite the announcements, dozens of protesters remained after curfew began.
There was also a war of words between the family attorneys and local law enforcement officials.
On Monday, Chantal Cherry-Lassiter, a family attorney who viewed 20 seconds of the shooting from one deputy’s body camera, said it showed an “execution.”
Brown’s son Khalil Ferebee agreed. “Yesterday, I said I thought he was executed,” Ferebee said Tuesday. “It’s obvious he was trying to get away. It’s obvious. And they gonna shoot him in the back of the head? Man, that sh** not right. That’s not right at all, man.”
On Tuesday, the county responded.
“This is unproven hyperbole that only inflames the community and — should this matter ever go to court — could bias potential jurors and perhaps interfere with a fair trial for anyone involved,” officials said on a “Check the Facts” page on the county website.
What we know about the shooting
Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies were authorized to look for crack cocaine, other controlled substances and “evidence of criminal activity” in Brown’s two vehicles and his residence, according to a search warrant signed by a judge on April 20.
The copy of the warrant obtained by CNN was marked as “not executed.” In the first news conference about the shooting, Wooten said Brown was killed as deputies were attempting to execute the search warrant, but he later stated Brown was killed as deputies served an arrest warrant.
CNN has not been able to obtain the arrest warrant.
In the body camera footage shown to the family, Brown is in his car in the driveway, blocked by the sheriff’s department and sitting with his hands on the steering wheel, Cherry-Lassiter said.
Deputies ran up to his car, shooting as Brown put the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway, Cherry-Lassiter said. Deputies continued to shoot at him as he drove off, she said.
“What the 20 seconds shows is that Andrew Brown is not a threat to officers,” she told CNN on Tuesday. “As he was being shot at, Andrew was trying to back away from the officers and save his life, save his own life.”
CNN has not seen the video and has not been able to independently verify the family attorneys’ account of the video. Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg said it would be inappropriate to comment on the case until all the evidence is collected.
Brown’s aunt Betty Banks said the family was told that authorities did not find any drugs or weapons in Brown’s car or in his house.
Seven deputies have been placed on administrative leave following the shooting, two others have resigned and one deputy retired, Wooten said. Not all the deputies who were placed on administrative leave discharged their firearms, he added, but they were all part of the warrant operation.
Family attorneys say they have ‘great faith’ in federal investigation
The FBI’s Charlotte field office said it is looking into last Wednesday’s shooting to determine if federal laws were broken, a development that attorneys for the Brown family welcomed.
“We have great faith that this caliber of an investigation will prevent any obscuring of the facts released to the Brown family and public, and will overcome any local bias that may prevent justice from being served,” attorneys Ben Crump, Bakari Sellers, Harry Daniels and Cherry-Lassiter said in a statement.
They also referred to video obtained by CNN on Tuesday that shows a Sheriff’s Office pickup packed with deputies arriving at the scene of the shooting. They said it shows Brown was “brought down by an inflamed modern-day lynch mob.”
“We believe that once the long-awaited body camera footage is released, we will be able to fill in the gaps to this story and hold the officers responsible for Andrew Brown’s death accountable,” the attorneys said in their statement.