Andrew Brown Jr's family says bodycam footage proves he showed hands and wasn't threat to cops who still shot him
'At all times his hands were visible, you could see he was not a threat,' said a family lawyer
Attorneys representing the family of Andrew Brown Jr have said that police were unjustified in shooting him, after viewing the body and dash-camera footage of his death.
On April 21, Brown was fatally shot by Pasquotank County deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, when they were trying to execute a warrant.
Brown family attorney Chance Lynch said he and the family had watched six videos. The first one was a dash camera footage with no sound, while the rest were all police body camera footage.
"We were able to see some critical footage that yields some truth and transparency to what we thought we would see from the beginning," Lynch said during a news conference on Tuesday, May 11.
Meanwhile, Pasquotank County Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg said that the video simply showed the attempt to serve an arrest warrant against Brown, including the officers' attempts to provide Brown first aid after the shooting. "It was my hope that we will be able to release the video publicly so everyone could see for themselves what happened," Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten added. "We respect the court's decision and took an oath to abide by North Carolina law and we've done just that."
The video was released to the family after petitions from the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office and a media coalition. Judge Jeff Foster allowed Brown's family and one of their lawyers to view the videos but did not grant them copies or recordings. The written order noted that the videos consist of almost two hours of footage.
According to Lynch, who viewed the footage, Brown was sitting in his vehicle when officers arrived and demanded Brown to "show your hands" or "get out." "At all times his hands were visible, you could see he was not a threat," Lynch said. "It was so much yelling, we could barely understand what was happening." The lawyer said that a shot was fired before Brown put his car in reverse, several feet from where the officers were standing.
"At no point did we see any police officers behind his vehicle," Lynch said. "At no point did we see Mr Brown make contact with law enforcement."
Meanwhile, District Attorney Andrew Womble has said that officers opened fire only when Brown drove toward them and his car made contact with the officers at least two times. Lynch said he saw officers firing at Brown's car, but couldn't recollect how many shots were fired. "When they approached the vehicle, we counted approximately six if not more bullet holes in the passenger side of his car," Lynch said. "Windows were shattered. We were able to see one shot in the front windshield and approximately six (bullet holes) in the back windshield."
At some point, Lynch said, there was a "final shot" that led to Brown losing control of his vehicle and crashing into a tree across the street. Officers subsequently pulled his body out of the car and laid him face-first on the ground. No weapons were recovered from the vehicle, according to CNN. "It was absolutely, unequivocally unjustified," Lynch said. "Our legal team is more committed now to pursue justice... because what we saw today was unconstitutional and it was unjustifiable."
As part of the order, the deputies' facial features were blurred "to prevent identification pending the completion of any internal or criminal investigation into the actions of the deputies."
A 20-second clip from the bodycam footage was previously shown to two members of Brown's family. Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, another attorney representing the family, said that clip showed an "execution," per CNN.
"The video I saw last week is pretty much the same as what I seen today just a few more details," Khalil Ferebee, one of Brown's sons who viewed the footage, said Tuesday, May 11. "He wasn't in the wrong at all, what's in the dark will come to the light."