ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – Protests continued Thursday hours after Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten launched the names of seven deputies concerned within the deadly taking pictures of Andrew Brown Jr. on April 21.
All seven had been positioned on administrative go away after the taking pictures, however a evaluation of body-camera footage reveals 4 of the deputies by no means fired a weapon, Wooten stated within the launch. Those deputies have been reinstated to energetic responsibility.
“More investigation is necessary into the three deputies who did fire their weapons and they will remain on administrative leave pending completion of the internal investigation and/or the criminal investigation being conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation,” Wooten says in the release.
Andrew Brown Jr. was shot five times — including once in the back of his head, a family-backed autopsy showed — as deputies were serving search and arrest warrants at Brown’s home in Elizabeth City.
The seven deputies identified by Wooten:
- Investigator Daniel Meads (on administrative leave)
- Deputy Sheriff II Robert Morgan (on administrative leave)
- Cpl. Aaron Lewellyn (on administrative leave)
- Lt. Steven Judd (active duty)
- Sgt. Michael Swindell (active duty)
- Sgt. Kenneth Bishop (active duty)
- Sgt. Joel Lunsford (active duty)
Here’s what we know Thursday:
‘Release the tapes,’ protesters chant
Elizabeth City’s police department on Thursday said it had issued a “violation warning” as a group of about 50 people gathered after the city’s curfew. It marked the ninth night of peaceful protests in the city as
Elizabeth City Councilor Gabriel Adkins earlier asked protestors to respect the city’s 8 p.m. curfew: “If you choose to stay out, stay out of the road.” He said he hoped the city could lift that curfew as soon as Friday.
While police previously targeted journalists for enforcement after curfew, the city on Thursday clarified that working journalists would not be subject to the curfew, according to a letter from William H. Morgan, Jr., Elizabeth City’s attorney.
Among the chants heard in the streets Thursday evening: “Release the tapes — the whole tapes” and “You can’t hide, you committed homicide.”
Ikisha Brothers said it was important for her to be a part of the protest. She went to school with Brown and said it was heartbreaking how the past week has unfolded.
More than anything, Brothers said she wants the tapes released for the family.
Before dusk Thursday, a group of protesters stopped at yards away from where Brown was shot. They held a moment of silence broken only by the rumble of truck engines as supporters followed behind.
The silence ended as a voice within the crowd shouted, “Say his name.”
When will a judge reconsider whether to release bodycam video?
Brown’s household will be allowed to view more bodycam footage of his demise inside 10 days, a choose dominated after deciding to not launch the movies publicly.
Judge Jeff Foster stated Wednesday that he would rethink arguments over whether to release the footage after a State Bureau of Investigation inquiry is full and the district legal professional can decide on potential fees.
Foster’s decision not to release the video drew condemnation from attorneys representing Brown’s family. Lawyers for a coalition of media organizations that sought the release said they’d consider an appeal after reading Foster’s full written order.
A funeral for Brown is scheduled for Monday. Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy.
Foster said he would reconsider whether to release the footage within 30 to 45 days. District Attorney Andrew Womble said he believes the State Bureau of Investigation, which is overseeing an independent inquiry into the shooting, will be able to complete its work, and that he can make any potential charging decisions within that time.
Foster said he was not releasing the footage out of caution, to prevent any potential threat to a fair and impartial trial if charges were to be brought. He said release now could also threaten the safety of those seen in the footage.
Why so few particulars on Brown’s demise? Police are fueling outrage over Andrew Brown Jr.’s death by withholding information, experts say
A Pasquotank County attorney petitioned to have the footage released to Brown’s family on behalf of the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office. Wooten said he was disappointed that the video wouldn’t be released immediately, but that he would respect the judge’s ruling.
“Although we’re unable to point out the general public what occurred proper now, the impartial investigators are working to finish their investigation,” Wooten said. “As quickly as all of the essential information are given to me, I’ll act shortly to make sure accountability and I’ll be as clear as I presumably can with the general public.”
Foster said Brown’s family must be allowed to view the footage within 10 days, however. Faces and identification badges of the deputies involved will be blurred, and some sections may be cut.
A coalition of news media organizations, including Gannett, the parent company of USA TODAY, petitioned to have the footage released, too.
Foster ruled that the media did not have standing to have the video released to them.
“If the media don’t have standing to petition the courtroom for launch of regulation enforcement video, most people doesn’t both. We consider that’s legally incorrect,” Mike Tadych and Amanda Martin, attorneys representing the coalition, said in a statement. “We will evaluation the choose’s written order after we obtain it and resolve at that time how finest to enchantment it instantly.”
Brown family attorney, district attorney offer different accounts of bodycam
Brown’s family on Monday viewed a partial, edited clip of body camera video of the shooting.
After viewing the video with the family, attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter said it showed Brown with his hands on the steering wheel of his car and not a threat to deputies.
“They run as much as his car taking pictures,” Cherry-Lassiter said. “He lastly decides to attempt to get away and he backs out, not going towards the officers in any respect.”
Womble called Cherry-Lassiter’s account “patently false.”
Judge guidelines to not launch bodycam:(*7*)
“As it backs up, it does make contact with regulation enforcement officers,” Womble stated. The automotive stops once more, in line with Womble, and, “the next movement of the car is forward. It is in the direction of law enforcement and makes contact with law enforcement. It is then and only then that you hear shots.”
Cherry-Lassiter stood by her feedback after the listening to.
Harry Daniels, one other legal professional for Brown’s household, stated the discrepancy reveals why the video ought to be public.
In an announcement after Foster’s resolution to not launch the footage, the household’s attorneys stated they had been upset.
“In this modern civil rights crisis where we see Black people killed by the police everywhere we look, video evidence is the key to discerning the truth and getting well-deserved justice for victims of senseless murders,” the attorneys stated.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper known as for a particular prosecutor to deal with the case and any resolution on potential prison fees, and the FBI’s Charlotte discipline workplace stated it had opened a civil rights investigation into Brown’s demise.
Contributing: Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY; The Associated Press