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FBI Charlotte opens federal civil rights investigation into the deputy involved shooting death of Andrew Brown, Jr.

Andrew Brown
Posted at 1:42 PM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 22:23:13-04

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - A federal civil rights investigation into the police involved shooting death of Andrew Brown, Jr., in Elizabeth City is now underway.

An FBI spokesperson said, “The FBI Charlotte Field Office has opened a federal civil rights investigation into the police involved shooting death of Andrew Brown, Jr. Agents will work closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice to determine whether federal laws were violated. As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further.”

Forty-two-year-old Brown was shot and killed on April 21 as Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies were serving a warrant on felony drug charges.

Since his death, peaceful protests have gone on each day in Elizabeth City, calling for transparency and the release of body cam footage taken during the incident.

“Unedited. The full footage for the family,” Arianna, an Elizabeth City woman, told News 3. “They’ve been disrespected for a week straight now. All we want is for them to be able to see the footage, and understand what happened to their son, to their father.”

Tuesday, a curfew for the city went into effect from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

On Monday, Brown's family and their attorneys were able to view 20 seconds of the body cam video, and family members said the it was an execution. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said they do not feel like they got transparency. He said they only saw part of the video and claimed that officials wanted to have two of Brown's family members with no legal counsel present at first.

Attorneys are now calling to see all of the footage they say was taken at the scene and released their own independent autopsy report Tuesday, stating Brown suffered a "kill shot to the back of the head."

After the autopsy was released, Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten issued the following statement:

“I want answers about what happened as much as the public does. The private autopsy released by the family is important and I continue to pray for them during this difficult time. However, a private autopsy is just one piece of the puzzle. The independent investigation being performed by the SBI is crucial and the interviews, forensics, and other evidence they gather will help ensure that justice is accomplished.”
Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office Tommy Wooten

Monday evening, Tommy Wooten and Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg released another video statement. They said the sheriff's office will comply with the judge's orders after the county attorney filed a motion with the court to release the body camera video; however, they added that the sheriff's office doesn't have the ability to release the footage and said anyone who thinks they do doesn't "know North Carolina law or they are purposefully trying to inflame a tragic situation."

Meanwhile, there’s anticipation for a Wednesday morning court hearing for a media coalition regarding the release of the footage.

Elon University School of Law professor Steve Friedland told News 3 he believes there may be efforts to change state law concerning body cam footage.

“I think there likely will be efforts to modify this law to make it easier for the public to see videos, for people who are also family members to see more of the videos, and perhaps with fewer issues in the system, before they get a chance to view it,” Friedland said.

News 3 will bring you updates on Wednesday’s court hearing on-air and online.