Elizabeth City, NC — In May of 2021, a North Carolina prosecutor released a statement claiming the deputies who surrounded Andrew Brown Jr. and dumped countless rounds into his body as he attempted to flee — were justified in their in their actions. The deputies were then reinstated and have been back on duty ever since. Case closed.
Andrew Brown Jr. was a "loving father" who had not harmed anyone and was merely suspected of selling prohibited substances to willing customers. He was unarmed when he was executed by agents of the state callously carrying out the deadly and senseless war on drugs.
Now, because the justice system is set up in a way to protect killer cops, the taxpayers of North Carolina will be held accountable instead of the officers who killed Brown.
The family of Andrew Brown Jr. had filed a $30 million civil rights lawsuit in 2021, saying the man died because officers showed "intentional and reckless disregard of his life." This week, the Pasquotank County sheriff's office announced they were settling the case for $3 million, which will go to Brown's children.
"Andrew Brown Jr. was a devoted father who wanted his children to have the things he didn't," said a statement from the five attorneys representing his family. "While no settlement could ever fill the hole his death left in their hearts, this agreement is about providing for those children's futures, securing their education and ensuring their dreams didn't die with their father."
District Attorney Andrew Womble claimed last year that Brown used his car that day as a "deadly weapon" when he fled police on April 21, 2021. The prosecutor's office claimed Brown ignored their commands to get out of his vehicle and despite the fact that he had no guns or weapons, Brown deserved to be executed.
"Mr. Brown's death, while tragic, was justified because Mr. Brown's actions caused three deputies to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others," Womble said.
"While the district attorney concluded that no criminal law was violated, this was a terrible and tragic outcome, and we could do better," Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten said, adding that two deputies did not turn on their body cameras during the incident.
Since police killed Brown, the DA has refused to publicly release an actual copy of the body camera footage. However, he played portions of it during a press conference last year as local media broadcasted it out live. The multiple angles of the body camera footage show a chaotic scene of cops surrounding Brown's car before dumping over a dozen rounds into the unarmed father of 7 as he drove away.
"Federal courts have held that the Constitution simply does not require police to gamble with their lives in the face of a serious threat of harm," Womble said.
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Justifiably so, Brown's family disagreed with the DA's decision to clear the cops involved, calling it "both an insult and a slap in the face." They were allowed to watch the entire video and have long held that deputies "executed" Brown for merely attempting to flee. When you watch the video below, it is hard to disagree with this assessment.
"They did not follow their own policies," said Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, one of Brown's family's attorneys. "They were not being safe during the entire interaction."
According to the authorities, they were executing a search warrant at the residence where Brown was surrounded and killed. Heavily armed militarized police officers jumped out of the back of a pick-up truck, surrounded Brown and killed him — during a search warrant for arbitrary substances deemed illegal by the state.
That's right. Brown hadn't harmed anyone and wasn't accused of a violent crime or robbery or even theft, he was suspected of having drugs, selling them to willing customers, and he was executed for it.
As the video shows, 7 cops in body armor, armed with AR-15 rifles, swarmed Brown's vehicle. Brown attempts to drive away as an officer jumps in front of the vehicle. In the footage, we see Brown attempt to swerve away from the deputy who jumped in front of the vehicle but as soon as the deputy slaps the hood of his car, three other deputies open fire. Brown never ran over or hit any of the deputies.
"At no point did we ever see Mr. Brown make contact with law enforcement," Attorney Chance Lynch told reporters. "We were able to see where they possibly reached out to make contact to him, but we did not see any actions on Mr. Brown's part where he made contact with them or try to go in their direction. In fact, he did just the opposite."
By the time the deputy slapped the hood of Brown's car, there was no longer a potential for anyone to get hurt but they opened fire on him anyway.
Instead of simply letting the man drive away and arrest him later for selling arbitrary substances deemed illegal by the state, three of the deputies decided to play judge, jury and executioner, and killed a father that day.
The footage shows that the majority of the shots were fired as Brown fled and the fatal shot that killed him was a bullet to the back of his head. According to an independent autopsy conducted by Brown's family, all the bullets hit Brown from the back.
"To say this shooting was justified, despite the known facts, is both an insult and a slap in the face to Andrew’s family, the Elizabeth City community, and to rational people everywhere," a statement from the family's attorneys said. "Not only was the car moving away from officers, but four of them did not fire their weapons — clearly they did not feel that their lives were endangered. And the bottom line is that Andrew was killed by a shot to the back of the head."