The family of Andrew Brown Jr, a Black man fatally shot by police in April in North Carolina, said that new body camera footage they viewed on Tuesday proved he “posed no threat” to officers before he was killed.
After watching the 19-minute video footage, which included clips from five police body cameras and a dashboard-mounted camera, the family concluded it was an “unjustified killing,” according to their attorney, former congressman Bakari Sellers.
Before Tuesday, the Brown family had only seen about 20 seconds of body camera footage, which they argued didn’t capture the full context of what happened. Protests continued for days throughout Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where county sheriff’s deputies killed Mr Brown while serving a search and arrest warrant on 21 April. Releasing more video footage to the family and the public has been a major demand.
In the new video, according to another of the family’s attorneys, Chance Lynch, Mr Brown can be seen in his car with his hands visible the entire time and may have been on the phone, before deputies fire the first shot and Mr Brown tries to back up away from officers, “several feet if not yards” from the nearest officer.
“At all times you could see that he was not a threat,” Mr Lynch said at a press conference following the viewing. “At all times what we saw were police officers standing on the pavement, unloading their weapons. There were so many shots that we found difficulty in counting the number of shots this vehicle received,” he added.
Previously, Pasquotank County district attorney Andrew Womble said Mr Brown “made contact” with deputies in his car before the group of deputies, some of whom were wearing body armour and carrying long guns, began firing.
So far, the video footage has not been released to the public, after a judge ruled in late April it wouldn’t be released for at least 30 days pending the ongoing investigations into Mr Brown’s death.
Mr Brown’s family has called for the district attorney to recuse himself from the investigation into the shooting, arguing the fact that he regularly works with the county sheriff’s department constitutes a “well-defined” conflict of interest.
The Independent has reached out to Mr Womble’s office for comment.