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4 deputies back on duty, 3 still on leave following Andrew Brown Jr.'s death; Pasquotank Co. Sheriff says reinstated deputies did not fire weapons

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Posted at 2:33 PM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 17:02:22-04

PASQUOTANK Co., N.C. - Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten released the names of the seven deputies placed on administrative leave following the death of Andrew Brown Jr. during an attempt to serve an arrest and search warrant, and announced that four of the deputies who did not fire their weapons have returned to active duty.

“After reviewing the preliminary conclusions of the independent investigators conducting the internal review, and after carefully examining the body camera footage of the incident with my own staff, it’s obvious that four of the deputies never fired their weapons and deserve to be reinstated to active duty," Wooten said. "More investigation is necessary into the three deputies who did fire their weapons, and they will remain on administrative leave pending completion of the internal investigation and/or the criminal investigation being conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation."

The deputies on administrative leave were Lt. Steven Judd, Sgt. Michael Swindell, Sgt. Kenneth Bishop, Sgt. Joel Lunsford, Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Sheriff Robert Morgan and Cpr. Aaron Lewellyn.

Judd, Swindell, Bishop and Lunsford are listed as "active," while Meads, Morgan and Lewellyn are listed as on "admin leave."

Once again, the city's police chief expects more protests on Thursday night as an 8 p.m. curfew remains in effect. "What's next of the city is we have to come together. We have to try to figure out how to heal as a community," said City Councilman Darius Horton.

Related: Elizabeth City protests continue into Wednesday night one week after Andrew Brown Jr.'s death

Horton met with the city's police chief on Thursday afternoon. He said he thinks the curfew has made things worse, but says it will likely remain in effect until the city council meets again on Monday.

"The police chief he just wants to see peace in the city. I understand where he was coming from. I appreciate all of the officers work, but I think we need to stop the curfew as soon as possible because we need to say, 'Hey, we welcome peaceful protest,'" said Horton.

The police chief told News 3 he didn't have time to do an interview Thursday, but he expects protests to begin around 9 p.m. Nine people were arrested Wednesday night during protests.