ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – Day in and day out, protesters have peacefully walked the streets of Elizabeth City.
They’re keeping the pressure on local leaders, chanting, “Who’s streets? Our streets,” hoping their voices lead to change in the wake of Andrew Brown Jr.’s shooting death.
Linwood Gallop of Elizabeth City has been demonstrating since protests began after Brown was shot and killed by Pasquotank sheriff’s deputies last Wednesday, April 21.
“We still got a long ways to go,” Gallop said. “We’re just getting started, really just getting started.”
The calls for justice, transparency and better policing are growing louder.
“I can’t remember the last time a police shooting took place here, and I’m going back in my mind 30 years,” said Gallop. “I can’t remember a police shooting. That’s not how we respond here.”
Community members also questioned the curfew the mayor put in place, saying it’s doing more harm than good.
“You have to listen to that voice and address it,” said Gallop. “You cannot suppress it with law enforcement. You can try. We’re going to buck back. We have our rights and we know our rights.”
Jessica Kelly of Elizabeth City was also marching Thursday. She was holding a sign that read, “I don’t see a riot here. Why are you in riot gear?”
“There’s no excuse for cops in riot gear for 10 people standing protesting,” she said. “That’s our right to do.”
Demonstrators made their way toward the house Brown’s rented on Perry Street – the scene where he took his last breath.
Marchers stopped in front of the home for a moment of silence remembering the 42-year-old father. Elizabeth City Councilman Gabriel Adkins led the group of more than 100 protesters in a prayer.
One of Brown’s friends, Ulysses Edwards, was memorializing him, spray painting a mural of Brown's face on the side of Brown’s home. The portrait was above the splattered dirt left behind from when neighbors said Brown tried to drive away as deputies were firing their guns.
“I thought it would be a great idea to put a memorial on the house just to give the community a memory of what’s going on right now,” Edwards said. “We’re a small community of only 18,000. You see this stuff on TV and in the news in bigger cities. You don’t think it’s going to hit home in smaller communities, so it brings a reality to light that this can happen anywhere, and it’s definitely a problem nationwide.”
Around 9:30 p.m., sheriff’s deputies, police and several other law enforcement agencies made attempts to disperse the crowd of a couple dozen protesters who were standing on the sidewalks and in the streets in front of the public safety building.
That standoff with police and protesters lasted about an hour. News 3 saw at least four people arrested. The tense moments were a start contrast to the peaceful protest from earlier in the day.