The attorney for the family of a Black man who was fatally shot by police earlier this week in North Carolina told Fox News on Friday he is “working diligently” to file a motion asking a judge to release body camera footage of the incident.
Harry Daniels, who is representing the family of Andrew Brown Jr. – the 42-year-old who was killed Wednesday morning in Elizabeth City – made the comments following a second night of demonstrations calling for more answers surrounding the circumstances of his death. Brown Jr. was “fatally wounded” as Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant for felony drug charges, according to Sheriff Tommy Wooten.
“There is body camera footage of the attempt to arrest Mr. Brown,” Wooten said in a video statement released Thursday night. “The State Bureau of Investigation has this footage and it can only be released by a judge.”
“If evidence shows that any of my deputies violated the law or policies, they will be held accountable,” the sheriff added. “Because that is what the citizens expect me to do, and it’s the right thing to do.”
On the day before the shooting, nearby Dare County had issued two arrest warrants for Brown on drug-related charges, including possession with intent to sell cocaine, according to court documents released Thursday.
While Wooten had previously said one Pasquotank County deputy had shot Brown and was on leave, he indicated on Thursday that multiple deputies were involved and had been placed on leave.
“Our deputies attempted to serve the arrest warrants, they fired the shots. They’ve been put on administrative leave until we know all the facts,” he said.
An eyewitness said that deputies fired at Brown multiple times as he tried to drive away. The car skidded out of Brown’s yard and eventually hit a tree, said Demetria Williams, who lives on the same street. A car authorities removed from the scene appeared to have multiple bullet holes.
While deputies were wearing body cameras, footage of the shooting and what led up to it has yet to be released. In North Carolina, a judge generally has to approve the release of police video, and no timetable has been given.
“We’re waiting for the bodycam footage because we really just don’t know what happened,” said Brown’s cousin Jadine Hampton. “But if this is a case where he was killed, running away, unarmed, then we absolutely are going to pursue justice in whatever capacity that can be.”
Court records viewed by the Associated Press show Brown had a history of criminal charges stretching back into the 1990s, including a misdemeanor drug possession conviction and some pending felony drug charges.
“Mr. Brown was a convicted felon with a history of resisting arrest,” Pasquotank County Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg said Thursday, speaking alongside Wooten. “Our training and our policies indicate under such circumstances there is a high risk of danger.”
Fogg also said some deputies with the sheriff’s office “are now receiving threats.”
“We respect and support peaceful protests and will provide protection for peaceful protesters,” he said. “But threats are illegal and not a solution.”
Wooten called Brown’s death “tragic,” adding that the “family is grieving, and I hope all of you will join in with me in praying for them.”
Brown’s aunt, Glenda Brown Thomas, told the Associated Press Thursday that he “had a good laugh, a nice smile.”
“And he was kind of like a comedian. He always had a nice joke,” she said.
Hampton said Brown often entertained relatives with his humorous stories at family gatherings, including a socially distanced celebration in October of their grandmother’s 92nd birthday, the last time Hampton saw Brown.
Brown had seven children of his own and helped take care of others, Daniels, the attorney representing the family, said in a separate interview with the Associated Press.
Hampton also described Brown as being a proud father.
“Although he didn’t finish school, he pushed them to finish school,” she said. “I believe a few of them were on honor roll.”
When he was 12 or 13, Brown’s mother was slain in Florida, Thomas said. Not long afterward, he dropped out of school around the 10th grade. She said her nephew was a good basketball player but had trouble with reading comprehension. Several years ago, his father died in federal prison after a medical procedure, Thomas said.
With his own troubles with drugs and the law, Brown had trouble keeping a job, Thomas said. But she said he still found ways to earn money to support his children, including card games and shooting pool. She said he sent his father money every month when the older man was in prison.
Another aunt who helped raise Brown in the absence of his parents, Martha McCullen, said it’s hard to find a job, especially with a criminal record, in Elizabeth City, where one in five live in poverty.
“Because they’re convicted … they can’t get no jobs,” she said. “It’s crazy.”
Fox News’ Brie Stimson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.