A judge in North Carolina has issued a written order to allow the immediate family of Andrew Brown Jr. to see the videos of his fatal encounter with law enforcement. The Pasquotank County Sheriff now says some family members will be allowed to view specified videos of that encounter on May 11th.
Brown was fatally shot when Pasquotank County deputies were trying to execute warrants on April 21, officials said.
“We’ve carefully read the order from the judge, and we will certainly comply with it,” Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said in a statement. “Because we’re continuing to be as transparent as we can under state law, we will be allowing the family members identified in the judge’s order to view the specified videos much sooner than the judge’s deadline requires.”
The Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office and a media coalition had petitioned the court to allow for the disclosure of the videos. Under North Carolina law, body camera video is not a public record and cannot be released without a court order.
Judge Jeff Foster granted, in part, a petition from the sheriff’s office allowing Brown’s family and one of its legal representatives to view the videos — but they will not be allowed to receive copies or make recordings.
The judge filed his order Thursday night, according to a copy posted by the county. The order says the videos consist of almost two hours of footage.
Before the family views the footage, the judge ordered the sheriff’s office to blur the deputies’ facial features “to prevent identification pending the completion of any internal or criminal investigation into the actions of the deputies.”
The time and location of the viewing will be arranged with the family’s attorney, Sheriff Wooten says in the statement.
“We’ve been working on making redactions since the hearing and are reviewing the order to comply with the specifics the judge included,” the sheriff’s office said in an email.
“We don’t anticipate seeing anything we don’t already know. We think it will show an unjustified shooting,” a source close to the Brown family said. “Regardless of when we see it (the videos) we will notice everyone when viewed and schedule a presser.”
The order says that the video disclosure “shall occur to the family within 10 days” of the order.
Protesters have been calling almost nightly for the full release of the videos. Another protest with members of the clergy including Bishop William Barber is set for Saturday.