An attorney for the family of a Black man fatally shot last week by police in North Carolina says that body camera footage of his death that they were allowed to view shows an “execution.”
Andrew Brown Jr., 42, died Wednesday after deputies in Elizabeth City, N.C., shot him as they were attempting to execute a drug-related search warrant.
“Let's be clear: this was an execution,” Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, an attorney for Brown’s family, told reporters Monday after they were shown a redacted portion of body camera footage at the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office. She said officials allowed them to view just 20 seconds of video of the incident.
Cherry-Lassiter said the video shows Brown in his car in his driveway with his hands on the steering wheel as police are shooting at him.
Brown then backs out of the driveway as the officers continue firing and drives away, hitting a tree.
“In no time in the 20 seconds we saw was he threatening the officers in any kind of way,” Cherry-Lassiter said.
She said that at least eight officers were seen in the footage.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said previously that multiple deputies fired shots during the incident. According to the sheriff's office, seven officers have been placed on leave while the shooting is being investigated.
“My dad got executed trying to save his own life,” Brown’s son Khalil Ferebee said after seeing the video. “It ain't right. It ain't right at all.”
The footage has not been released to the public, despite calls to do so from local and state officials — including Gov. Roy Cooper. Under North Carolina law, the release of body camera video must be ordered by a judge.
Officials in Pasquotank County said Monday that they were working to redact parts of the footage due to the active investigation.
Lawyers for the Brown family denounced what they described as a lack of transparency.
“Twenty seconds is not transparency when you've got multiple officers gunning down a man with his hands on a steering wheel trying to get away,” said Harry Daniels, an attorney for the family.
Earlier Monday, Elizabeth City Mayor Bettie Parker declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the public release of the footage.
“City officials realize there may potentially be a period of civil unrest within the city following the public release of that footage,” Parker said in a statement.
The shooting came a day after former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the murder of George Floyd, whose killing sparked global protests against police brutality.
"If we don't have transparency, we can never get to accountability," said Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer and attorney for the Brown family. "And if we never get to accountability, we can never get to healing and trust."
Crump, who also represented Floyd's family, accused officials of trying to hide their misconduct.
"What is it on this video that is so damning?" Crump wondered aloud. "Just show the video."
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