Following Andrew Brown's killing, policing once again under microscope

Andrew Brown protest at Camden Bridge (April 28).jpg
Posted at 1:57 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 16:42:36-04

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - Following the killing of Andrew Brown, policing in America once again finds itself under the microscope.

Pasquotank Sheriff's deputies shot and killed Brown on April 21. His death remains under investigation, but many in the community have called for more transparency.

The incident happened the morning after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd.

"It was literally hours after that verdict was announced. We could barely celebrate," said Ben Crump, an attorney who's representing both the Floyd and Brown families. "We thought that George Floyd represented that we were going to stop these unnecessary, unjustified killings of Black men, but then we got the call here."

Once again, the country is trying to figure out what happens now. "We're coming to a point where we have to sit down and say enough is enough, but we have to come down and talk. We have to sit down and be honest, be transparent, and give action and accountability to us moving forward," said Dr. Eric Claville, the Director of the Center for African American Public Policy at Norfolk State University.

While Congress has taken up the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, it remains stalled in the Senate. Talks should continue at the local level, said Claville. "The saying is all politics is local. Well, all policing is local. The best thing that we have in our local communities is the ability to talk with leaders and participants within our governmental sector," he said.

Following Floyd's and other deaths last year, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper commissioned a task force to examine racial equity in criminal justice. In December, the group released its findings, calling for things like increased crisis intervention training and more resources going towards community policing.

"In order for us to move forward as a county, we have to grip hold to that American exceptionalism that has defined us. It hasn't been perfect, but it has worked, so let's not throw the country away. Let's continue to build up on the solid foundation that we have," said Claville.