Elizabeth City, N.C. is under a state of emergency. Body camera footage of Andrew Brown Jr.’s killing on Wednesday is expected to be released publicly by the local sheriff’s office. Government offices of the city were also closed for the day.
During the weekend his office will confirm the video be released on Monday said Pasquotank County, N.C., Sheriff Tommy Wooten II. This is a mandatory step for the North Carolina law as agencies have no permission to make particular videos public.
The recording is to be viewed by Brown’s relatives at 11:30 a.m. Before being released to the public on Monday, says their attorneys Harry Daniels, Bakari Sellers and Ben Crump. However, the viewing was delayed after authorities claimed they needed more time to rework the video. The authorities intended on blurring some of the people’s faces in the footage.
The delay was instantly not given acceptance by the Brown’s family attorneys. At a news conference outside the sheriff’s office Crump called out to Wooten saying, “Sheriff Wooten, you don’t need to say no more — just show the video.”
The county was also accused by Crump for using a double standard. That is when he said that the authorities were responsible for releasing a warrant saying different kinds of things about Brown. “However, they want to blur the faces of the police officers who murdered Andrew Brown,” Crump added to his sentence.
Brown, a 42 old Black man, was shot and killed by Sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday. The murder scene happened as the deputies were performing search and arrest warrants. The warrants were about possessing cocaine and methamphetamine and supplying them, according to Carolina Public Press.
Pasquotank County Attorney R. Michael Cox stated that the delay was due to redacting the video to hide people’s identities.
Immediately after getting the request on Sunday the office started to privately view the footage, said Cox. He also said the law allows blurring certain faces on the video which will take time.
Work is underway to get a court order to allow the viewing of the video by the public, Cox said. Hopefully Brown’s family will be able to view the video today, he said. However, the actual time will depend on the completion of the video censoring, he added.
Elizabeth City Mayor said earlier that the video and audio recordings will be released “in the very near future.”
“City officials realize there may potentially be a period of unrest within civilians in the city regarding the release of the footage to the public.” she said.
Downtown roads around the county courthouse and the sheriff’s office will be closed on Monday as announced, said the city police. They also said that the streets will remain closed for civilians practicing their fundamental right to a peaceful protest.
Brown’s killing soon caused protests in Elizabeth City. Over the weekend the police reported that there were no damage to property or any arrests during the protests.
Wanting approval from the court for the video’s release, Wooten said that doing so wouldn’t hinder the inspection of Brown’s case.
According to The Associated Press, scanner traffic argued Brown got shot at his back.
Scanner traffic recordings collected through broadcastify.com in the morning of the scene indicates that Brown was shot to his back. As an eyewitness said Brown was shot in the back as he tried to drive away. Also a car that authorities managed to remove from the scene had several bullet holes and a windshield shattered.
Brown passed away the day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was labelled guilty in George Floyd murder case. This was the case that sparked nationwide protests versus racial injustice and police brutality.
The Elizabeth City Mayor wants North Carolina law to be bent to favor the release of body camera footage. She mentioned that she will only allow a delay of 48hours for the release.
On Friday Gov. Roy Cooper described Brown’s death as “tragic and extremely concerning.” To add up he said, “The body camera footage should be made public as quickly as possible and the SBI should investigate thoroughly to ensure accountability.”
Sheriff’s seven deputies are on administrative leave since. Three more resigned, although according to the sheriff’s office the resignation has nothing to do with the shooting.