“He was ambushed,” Andrew Brown family attorney says after viewing about 20 more minutes of body-cam video

·2 min read

Attorneys for Andrew Brown’s family declared at a news conference Tuesday that body-cam videos show deputies were not justified in shooting him outside his Elizabeth City home.

The family had just viewed about 19 minutes of body-cam video from the April 21 incident when three Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies opened fire on Brown as he tried to drive away.

Tuesday evening, after Brown’s family watched the footage, their attorneys spoke before a media crowd outside the Pasquotank County Public Safety building.

“He was ambushed,” said Chance Lynch, a civil rights attorney and former district attorney who viewed the footage with the family. “At no point did we see Mr. Brown pose a threat to those officers.”

Lynch said he never struck officers with his car and his hands were constantly visible. After the first shot, Brown drove across a vacant lot as deputies fired at him. The family and attorneys could not count all the shots fired, Lynch said. His car was riddled with bullet holes.

It appeared the last shot hit Brown in the back of the head, Lynch said. He lost control of the car and came to a stop after hitting a tree along Roanoke Avenue, a block from his house. Officers pulled his body out of the car face down on the ground with the bullet wound visible in the back of his head, Lynch said.

A judge ordered last week that the family could view additional portions of the video that included Brown and the deputies’ attempts to apprehend him. The sheriff’s office has nearly two hours of footage from the incident, but the parts that did not include Brown were redacted.

Authorities showed Brown’s family 20 seconds of one video on April 26, but they and their attorneys pushed to see more.

Crowds have protested in Elizabeth City daily since the shooting, calling for a full release of the video.

The deputies were attempting to carry out a search warrant of Brown’s home on Perry Street when the shooting occurred.

The judge also said the videos could be released to the public in the coming weeks depending on the results of an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation into the shooting. The FBI is also investigating.

Last week, Pasquotank County commissioners passed a resolution calling for the state law to change so that families could view body-cam video after a police shooting.

The North Carolina Senate has introduced a wide-ranging criminal justice reform bill that would allow the family to view within five days the entire footage of police action that results in death or serious injury.

Jeff Hampton, 757-446-2090, jeff.hampton@pilotonline.com

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