On month anniversary of Andrew Brown Jr.'s death, NAACP, others call on DOJ to investigate sheriff, DA

Andrew Brown
Posted at 6:19 AM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 18:49:08-04

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - Members of the NAACP and others called on the Department of Justice to launch investigations into the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office and the district attorney.

The group is sending a letter to the DOJ, and a few dozen signed it on Friday afternoon on the one month anniversary of Andrew Brown Jr.'s death.

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, President and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach; Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, President of the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP; and Keith Rivers, President of the Pasquotank County NAACP, held a news conference following District Attorney Andrew Womble's decision to not charge the deputies.

"We are non-violent, but we ain't peaceful - not in the terms of just being quiet and accepting," said Barber.

The group is calling on the DOJ to launch pattern or practice investigations into the sheriff's office and the DA's office. Neither the sheriff nor the DA responded to the group's letter on Friday afternoon.

"We are outraged with the district attorney's actions and decisions. We have been outraged with Sheriff Wooten's actions and decisions," said Rivers.

Their letter comes after District Attorney Andrew Womble provided updates Tuesday on the state's investigation into Brown's death after weeks of protests and calls to release body camera footage of the shooting.

During the briefing, the DA said after reviewing the investigation, Brown’s death was justified. Womble said Brown’s actions made it reasonable for deputies to use deadly force.

"The facts of the case clearly illustrate the officers who used deadly force on Mr. Andrew Brown, Jr. did so reasonably and only when a violent felon used a deadly weapon to place their lives in danger," said Womble on Tuesday.

Related: Pasquotank Co. Sheriff files petition to release unredacted body camera footage of Andrew Brown Jr.'s death to public

The group Friday blasted Womble's decision, saying he acted like a defense attorney for the deputies.

"Why was the life of this poor Black man disposed of in such a cruel and callous way?" said Spearman.

"Now, I don't normally cuss, but what the hell kind of fools do you think we are?" said Barber.

The group promised to keep protesting and said Womble's decision only emboldened them.

"We will fight until hell freezes over and then we will fight on ice," said Rivers.

Below is a timeline of events that have taken place in Andrew Brown Jr.'s case: