ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — The lawyers for the family of Andrew Brown Jr., the man shot and killed by law enforcement last Wednesday in Elizabeth City, say he died of a “kill shot” to the back of the head from law enforcement, according to an independent autopsy report.
Brown was struck by four bullets in the arm before the fatal shot to the back of the head, the autopsy found.
Lawyers and members of Brown’s family said they were shown 20-seconds of footage from a deputy’s body camera on Monday. The video, which hasn’t been shared publicly, showed Brown’s hands were on the steering wheel before deputies started firing, lawyers said.
Lawyers also said Brown was driving away, only after law enforcement started firing, because he feared for his life.
An attorney for the family says they lost count how many shots were fired in the 20 seconds that was shown to the family. They added that shots were already being fired when the video started.
They called Brown’s killing an execution.
The FBI announced Tuesday that it is launching a federal civil rights investigation into the case.
“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.”
– FBI PUBLIC AFFAIRS SPECIALIST SHELLEY LYNCH, CHARLOTTE DIVISION
Brown’s car was also shot after it struck a nearby tree, lawyers said. “It’s obvious he was trying to get away,” his son said Tuesday. He said violence in response to his father’s death is not the answer, but things have to change.
“You don’t have to be a Democrat or Republican to feel like injustice was done […] you just have to have a beating heart, a moral conscience,” said attorney Bakari Sellers.
Eric Garner’s mother is speaking. Says the Brown family is now a member of the same club she is, after her son was killed by police.
The Brown family’s attorneys say they have received nothing from the official medical examiner so far. They commissioned a private post-mortem report.
Although the body camera video has not been released publicly, WAVY was able to obtain a separate surveillance video from down the street from last Wednesday’s shooting that shows deputies pull up to the scene. Audio cuts out for about 20 seconds when gunfire starts.
WAVY and other media companies have petitioned the court in surrounding Pasquotank County to release the video of the killing. The hearing on that petition is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Brown family attorney Bakari Sellers says people often call on families to send a message of peace during protests.
Sellers says the North Carolina law prohibiting the release of the body camera video is bad.
“If Andrew Brown had done something to justify his shooting, […] they would have gotten that approval early.”
Sellers said the law doesn’t require a court order to show the family the entire video. They were only shown that 20-second clip on Monday after a delay due to law enforcement blurring out deputies’ faces. Sheriff Tommy Wooten said the incident was “30 seconds” long, but the family only saw 20 seconds.
“We never got to see the initiation of the encounter,” an attorney said.
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