'One body cam, 20 seconds, an execution': Andrew Brown Jr.'s son and family attorneys explain body cam footage

Elizabeth City presser
Posted at 4:04 PM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-26 23:48:28-04

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - Body camera footage from the fatal deputy-involved shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. was shown to Brown's family and an attorney Monday afternoon.

This came after Brown's family, attorneys, some local elected officials and protesters called for the footage to be released.

Attorneys first said they were scheduled to see the footage at 11:30 a.m., but that was delayed after officials said they needed to make redactions. Officials said they needed to blur faces.

After viewing the footage, 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.

During the press conference, they said attorney Chantel Lassiter, the family's attorney, was present. She said she took three pages of notes off 20 seconds of video.

Civil rights attorney and political commentator Bakari Sellers said, “One body cam, 20 seconds, an execution."

Attorney Lassiter said, "Let’s be clear - this was an execution," as she began explaining the video they saw.

Here is Lassiter's explanation of the body cam footage. These are short quotes of what she said:

  • Deputies blocked him [Brown] in his driveway
  • He has his hands on his steering wheel
  • They ran up to his vehicle shooting
  • He still sat in his vehicle with his hands on the vehicle while being shot at
  • He [Brown] tries to get away, backs out, not towards officers
  • At no time was he threatening officers in any type of way
  • He was trying to evade being shot
  • Obscenities were being yelled at him
  • He avoids interactions with officers, trying to not threaten them
  • They are still shooting at him as he drives off

Lassiter went on to say that they saw one video from one body camera when at least eight officers were there. She added that they assume, based on what they did see, that there were things happening before and after the 20 seconds of footage viewed.

Brown's son, Khalil Ferebee, said it was like they are against all odds. He said, "My dad got executed just by trying to save his own life."

Later Monday evening, Pasquotank County Sheriff 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.

The sheriff and chief deputy said outside investigators from both the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and four other sheriff's offices are interviewing witnesses and gathering information.

Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office statement

Below is a transcription of what they said:

Sheriff Tommy Wooten: We’ve previously committed to transparency and accountability. Today, we’re continuing to follow through with those two important goals.

Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg: Today, our county attorney filed a motion with the court to release the body camera video. We will comply with the judge’s orders. Those people who claim the sheriff’s office has the ability to release, either don’t know North Carolina law or they are trying to purposefully inflame a tragic situation.

Wooten: Today, we also allowed the family of Mr. Brown and his attorney to privately view the video. This tragic incident was quick and over in less than 30 seconds and body cameras are shaky and sometimes hard to decipher. They only tell part of the story. Outside investigators both from the SBI and from four other sheriff’s offices are both interviewing witnesses and gathering more information.

Fogg: It's not appropriate for us to make any decision about what happened in this tragic incident until we get all the facts, not just the video perspective or the other evidence. We continue to ask for patience as we follow the important process to proceed.

Wooten: Thank you and god bless.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten and Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg

The attorneys at Monday's press conference said they will be speaking again Tuesday at 11 a.m. to address their investigation.

Related: Community members in Elizabeth City protest for release of body cam footage in Andrew Brown's death

Brown’s family and community members still want the body cam video publicly released. After six straight days of public outcry, so much has been building up to Monday’s private viewing, only for people to be let down by what the family didn’t get to see.

Word quickly spread after the family saw the recording, and emotions ran high and frustration grew among a crowd of demonstrators.

People chanted, “Stop killing us. Enough is enough,” and, “Release the tape.”

Elizabeth City residents, including Jessie Colombo, were left hurt.

“I’m sick to my stomach,” Colombo said. “I was shaking watching it, when they were talking about it. Release the footage because 20 seconds of altered footage blurring out the faces of cops is an outrage. It’s unheard of, and to show the family only and to do that speaks volumes. Twenty seconds - when the 20 seconds were that horrible, how horrible was the rest of it?”

Colombo has been protesting since the shooting Wednesday. She said she’s marching the streets for her 10-year-old biracial son, Julian. She’s also peacefully protesting for the city, which has now become part of a larger conversation about Black people dying at the hands of law enforcement.

“The fact that I have to worry about that is terrifying,” she said.

Daniel Grace was on a bike ride with his wife and two young children as protesters walked by.

“It’s really sad,” said Grace. “It’s really, really sad. If it could happen here, it could happen anywhere. No matter where you go.”

Grace’s wife Roshanna was amazed by the size of the crowd.

“This is a very big crowd,” she said. “It’s huge. It’s the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen.”

“This is really serious,” added Daniel Grace. “This is really serious.”

Roshanna Grace agreed.

“He didn’t have to die,” she said.

Monday’s demonstration wrapped up just before 11 p.m. Colombo said they walked 10 miles.

All the demonstrations have been peaceful. Police Chief Eddie Buffaloe said there have been no arrests or property damage.