Officials have been slow to release body camera footage and other details in Brown’s death. The county autopsy still has not been released to attorneys, leading them to conduct a private one. Officials initially said they were serving a warrant for Brown’s arrest related to “felony drug charges. “Mr. Brown was a convicted felon with a history of resisting arrest,” Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said in a video statement last week. “Our training and our policies indicate under such circumstances, there is a high risk of danger.” However, 20-second body camera footage released only to the Brown family and attorneys showed Brown had both hands on the steering wheel when deputies opened fire on him, attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter said during a news conference on Monday.
“Let’s be clear. This was a execution,” Cherry-Lassiter said after viewing the footage, which blurred the deputies’ faces. “Andrew Brown was in his driveway. The sheriff’s truck blocked him in his driveway so he could not exit the driveway.
“Andrew had his hands on his steering wheel. He was not reaching for anything. He was not touching anything.”
Khalil Ferebee, Brown’s son, said during the news conference that the officers were in no danger. “My dad got executed just by trying to save his own life,” Ferebee said.
On Tuesday, Shelley Lynch, a spokeswoman for the federal agency, told The News & Observer that the FBI has launched a civil rights probe into the shooting. “Agents 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,” Lynch said. “As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further.”
Although body camera footage of the shooting has not been publicly released, a coalition of media organizations is set to bring the matter before a judge in a hearing Wednesday morning, The News & Observer reported. An 8 PM curfew has been put into place in Elizabeth City after the city issued a state of emergency on Monday following days of protests calling for justice in Brown’s death.
Local pastors and activists met privately on Tuesday at Mount Lebanon AME Zion Church to declare a “moral emergency … Our faith demands justice in the courts and justice in every aspect of life,” Bishop William J. Barber II said. “What we see happening in Elizabeth City with a man shot in the back and the inept way the investigation is being handled by the district attorney and sheriff is a moral failure.”