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Elizabeth City protesters deliver letter to Department of Justice in Washington

Andrew Brown
Posted at 1:00 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 18:07:23-04

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - Protesters calling for federal investigations into the District Attorney's Office and Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office delivered a letter to the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., Thursday afternoon.

The group left Elizabeth City at 5:30 a.m. and then met with Justice Department officials at 1 p.m., according to Kirk Rivers, one of the community activists leading the calls for change following the death of Andrew Brown Jr. in April.

The meeting included the Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta.

"They were receptive. They did not shut people off. They wanted to hear the voices of Pasquotank County and Elizabeth City. They leaned in to what was being said," said Rev. Dr. Anthony Spearman, the President of the North Carolina NAACP.

The group is also calling for an expedited federal investigation into whether Brown's civil rights were violated.

"The meeting went exceedingly well. We had individuals who listened to our every word," said Spearman.

News 3 was there last month when protesters and others in the community signed a letter calling for pattern-or-practice investigations into the sheriff's office and the Office of District Attorney Andrew Womble.

"We are leaving with a sense of satisfaction and a sense of confidence that something is going to happen," said Spearman.

Protests have continued in the city ever since Pasquotank sheriff's deputies shot and killed Brown on April 21. Womble cleared the four deputies involved of any potential criminal charges and said the shooting was justified.

"It's not a moment, but a movement," Rivers told News 3 from a bus taking the protesters to Washington.

Related: Community members pay respect to Andrew Brown Jr.

On Wednesday, the protesters traveled to Raleigh and met with Gov. Roy Cooper as well as state lawmakers and Attorney General Josh Stein.

"It was a very good meeting and they see that we're serious," said Rivers.

Cooper called the meeting "amazing" during a press conference Wednesday, saying they discussed the recommendations of a task force the governor created last year following a series of incidents involving police, including the murder of George Floyd.

"I appreciated hearing from them. It's clear we have a lot of work to do to fight for racial justice- not only in the criminal justice system, but in education, in healthcare, in economics - and I'm committed to working with them and others to do that," Cooper said.

Rivers said the protests will continue in the city.

"We're going to continue to do things until we hear from the Department of Justice," he said.