Brown, 42, was shot in Pasquotank County but authorities have offered few details about the April 21 incident, which occurred during the execution of a search warrant. His family viewed snippets of bodycam footage Monday and later said only 20 seconds of video from one camera was all they were allowed to see.
Brown’s death comes amid a series of fatally police shootings involving Black victims, reigniting protests that were sparked after George Floyd’s death last year. Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said that multiple deputies fired shots. Seven deputies are on leave pending a probe by the State Bureau of Investigation.
During a news conference in which Brown’s family was present, their attorneys blasted local officials over the bodycam footage. Brown’s son, Khalil Ferebee, called the shooting an execution.
“My dad got executed just by trying to save his own life,” Ferebee said. “He got executed. It ain’t right.”
According to a copy of the search warrant and other records, Brown was described as a drug dealer who had a criminal history 180 pages long dating back decades. During an investigation into Brown, authorities said he would sometimes sell small amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine to an informant for over the course of a year.
Other offenses include multiple convictions for assault, drug crimes, and domestic trespass. the Carolina Public Press reported.
Jamaul Riddick, Brown’s friend and bail bondsman, told the outlet he never lost money bailing Brown out and never had to look for him.
“I’ve never known him to resist any officer or anybody. I mean he’s not that type of person,” Riddick said.
“He’s never been a violent person in his life. He doesn’t carry a gun,” he added. “He’s never had a gun, never carried a gun, and he’s just not violent.”
Amid protests over Brown’s death, Elizabeth City Mayor Bettie Parker declared a state of emergency in anticipation of more demonstrations.
Danielle McCalla, who grew up in Elizabeth City before recently moving to Virginia, joined demonstrators who came to watch the news conference by the family attorneys. She said it left her in tears.
“As soon as they started going into details, I started crying,” she said. McCalla, 30, said she met Brown and had several conversations with him, making her sad about what’s happening in her hometown and about police shootings elsewhere.
“It’s the same thing that keeps happening,” she said. “It’s a bigger monster than we think it is.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.