Two days after Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd, national attention has shifted to a small town in Eastern North Carolina where a Black man was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy on Wednesday.
Andrew Brown Jr., 42, was killed in Elizabeth City by a deputy who was executing a search warrant, Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said.
Officials have released few details about what happened. Demetria Williams, who lives near Brown’s home, told The News & Observer she heard several gun shots and then saw deputies remove Brown’s body from a vehicle.
Social justice advocates and faith leaders in North Carolina and across the country are weighing in on Brown’s death and calling for transparency.
The Rev. Al Sharpton appeared on MSNBC Thursday and discussed the similarities between Brown, Daunte Wright and Ma’Khia Bryant — all of whom were shot and killed by law enforcement this month.
“The thing we don’t know is the circumstances in North Carolina,” Sharpton said. “We don’t know everything about Ohio, whether there was another way he could have dealt with it. The family has reached out to us.”
He continued: “But the one thread between all of them and many other cases is the lack of trust in the criminal justice system and law enforcement.”
Prominent activists and ministers have also weighed in on social media.
The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, senior minister at Middle Church in New York City referred to Brown’s death, saying on Twitter, “Slave patrols changed their uniform, not their function.”
Activists Shaun King and Linda Sarsour shared the news of Brown’s death with their millions of social media followers.
“Andrew Brown. Was just shot and killed by police in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Don’t have the energy to say much else,” King said in a Facebook post Wednesday.
“Yes, another one,” Sarsour wrote. “Today. It’s every day. This is not okay. Stay human. Stay outraged. Don’t let them numb us. Don’t succumb to the idea that this is how it is. This is not normal. This is not normal.”
Wooten, the Pasquotank County sheriff, said the deputies involved had body-worn cameras when Brown was shot. The NAACP in North Carolina and others have called for the release of the footage.
“Here we are again outraged to hear of yet another Black man dead, allegedly at the hands of those who are supposed to protect and serve,” the group said. Brown’s death, which occurred about 15 hours after Chauvin’s guilty verdict was announced, “screams for increased scrutiny of the policing system.”
The Rev. Dr. TA Spearman, who leads the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP said in a statement:
“We will not stand idly by and watch North Carolina become another Minnesota. To the family we offer our condolences, to the community we offer our support and to our elected officials we will hold you accountable as we continue journeying to justice.”