Judge denies media request to publicly release body camera video in shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

Live 5 News

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WITN/AP/WBTV) – A judge ruled Wednesday that body camera video of the fatal officer-involved shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. should be disclosed to Brown’s family, but not released publicly.

The court denied the media request to release the body cam video, finding that the media does not qualify to seek release under the law.

The judge heard arguments on the public release of the four bodycam videos Wednesday morning.

The judge said the video should be disclosed to Brown’s family within 30-45 days. The judge ordered deputies to blur or redact any identifying information for deputies in the video.

The hearing began at 10 a.m.

“The officers are very distraught over what happened. They feel for the family of Andrew Brown Jr.” Their lawyer said. “We believe the shooting was justified.”

“The petitioners are not here to indict or vindicate law enforcement and they are not here to indict or vindicate Andrew Brown Jr.,” attorney Mike Tadych said in opening remarks on behalf of media coalition.

The District Attorney asked the judge to release video in 30 days

DA Andrew Womble said the video should either be released during a trial if he brings charges or at a press conference if he decides to not bring charges. Earlier arguments were made that releasing the video could interfere with a fair trial and jeopardize the safety of the officer involved.

An attorney who watched the video called the shooting of Brown an “execution.”

Chantel Lassiter said Brown was in his driveway with his hands on the steering wheel of his car. “They ran up to his car shooting,” said Lassiter.

The attorney said Brown still had his hands on the steering wheel as he backed out of the driveway, away from the deputies.

Andrew’s son, Khalil Ferebee, said his father was executed by Pasquotank County deputies after watching a short clip of police body camera footage Monday afternoon at the county sheriff’s office.

Brown was shot last Wednesday morning as deputies were trying to serve a search warrant at a home on Perry Street in Elizabeth City.

Sheriff Tommy Wooten said seven deputies have been placed on administrative leave while three have since resigned. The SBI is investigating the shooting and their results will be turned over to the district attorney.

The FBI has opened a federal civil rights investigation into the officer-involved shooting.

Agents with the FBI Charlotte Field Office will work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice to determine whether federal laws were violated.

Governor Roy Cooper is urging that a special prosecutor handle all matters regarding the shooting. The governor provided a statement Tuesday afternoon.

“In the interest of justice and confidence in the judicial system, I believe a special prosecutor should handle all matters regarding the shooting in Pasquotank County. This would help assure the community and Mr. Brown’s family that a decision on pursuing criminal charges is conducted without bias. This position is consistent with the change in the law recommended by our Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice which calls for a special prosecutor in police shootings, and I believe the law should be changed to help ensure it,” Gov. Cooper said.

Attorneys for Brown’s family say an independent autopsy showed the cause of death was a gunshot to the back of Brown’s head.

Late Monday, Sheriff Wooten & Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg said the county attorney filed a motion asking a Superior Court judge to release the body camera video.

“This tragic incident was quick and over in less than 30 seconds and body cameras are shaky and sometimes hard to decipher,” said the sheriff.”

“Let’s be clear, this was an execution,” Lassiter said. “I just want to make it clear, they were still shooting at him after his car had already crashed into a tree.”

The family was supposed to see the video at 11:30 a.m., but that was delayed as the county said it had to blur some of the video involved.

Attorneys said the family was only allowed to see twenty seconds from one body camera.

County attorney Michael Cox earlier today said while state law permits a private viewing to the family, it does allow them to blur some faces on the video to protect an active internal investigation. In a statement, Cox said the county received the family’s request Sunday evening, “we began working immediately to make that happen as soon as possible,” Cox said.

The rest is here: https://www.live5news.com/2021/04/28/hearing-be-held-release-bodycam-video-fatal-shooting-andrew-brown/

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