The family of Andrew Brown Jr. filed a $30 million federal lawsuit against the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday.
Brown, 42, was shot and killed by deputies who were serving warrants at his home in Elizabeth City, North Carolina on April 21. The events surrounding his death prompted protests due to his family claiming he was ambushed in his driveway by authorities.
An autopsy found that Brown died from a fatal gunshot wound to the back of his head.
District Attorney Andrew Womble cleared the deputies of any wrongdoing in May, and said while Brown’s death was tragic, it was “justified” because he allegedly used his vehicle as a deadly weapon.
Bakari Sellers, a Brown family attorney, said the lawsuit was filed in federal court because they believe there wasn’t a chance for a fair case in North Carolina.
“We stand in front of this federal courthouse because we believe this is where Andrew Brown will finally get justice because he did not get justice in life and so far hasn’t even gotten justice in death.”
The lawsuit lists Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten and the deputies as defendants. It’s one of the largest wrongful death lawsuits in recent history after the family of George Floyd, who was killed in Minneapolis police custody last year, received a $27 million settlement in March.
With the lawsuit being filed in federal court, the body cam footage of the shooting will likely be released in full and presented as evidence. A state Superior Court judge previously limited the release of footage to the public, citing a potential uproar by demonstrators.
The FBI also launched a civil rights investigation into Brown’s death, but their findings have yet to be released.