Officials in Elizabeth City, North Carolina have declared a state of emergency ahead of the release of body cam footage showing Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputies killing 42-year-old Andrew Brown while executing a warrant last week.
Brown was trying to flee in his car outside his house as deputies shot at him, according to a witness. The emergency dispatch audio from that day indicates a similar story as first responders are heard saying a man had gunshot wounds to the back.
It’s unknown at this time what led up to the incident. Brown’s family and their attorneys are calling for the unedited video to be released to the public immediately.
According to North Carolina law, police body cam footage can be released to the public with a court order. Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said over the weekend that his office will seek approval for the video’s release on Monday.
Brown’s relatives were scheduled to view the recording at 11:30 a.m. Monday before its public release, their attorneys said in a statement. But the viewing was postponed after authorities said “they needed more time to redact the video,” saying they would blur images of some people’s faces in the footage.
When the video was made available, attorneys say a single 20-second snippet shows Brown in his car with both hands on the steering wheel as he was ambushed by deputies and fatally shot in the back of the head.
“Let’s be clear, this was an execution,” Brown Family’s attorney Chantel Lassiter said Monday at a press conference.
“Andrew Brown was in his driveway. A Sheriff’s truck blocked him in his driveway. He did not exit the driveway. Andrew had his hands on his steering wheel. He was not reaching for anything. He wasn’t touching anything. He wasn’t doing anything around. He had his hands firmly on the steering wheel. They run up to his vehicle shooting. He still sat there in his vehicle with his hands on the steering wheel while being shot at.”
The details of Brown’s death “are tragic and extremely concerning,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said on Friday. He also said that body camera footage should be “made public as quickly as possible.”
Seven sheriff’s deputies have since been placed on administrative leave. Three others resigned, though the sheriff’s office said the resignations were not related to Brown’s death.